Interest for esports, short for electronic sports, spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic resulting from isolation and gathering restrictions.
Even beforehand, leagues for specific video games were growing around the world as teams and individuals competed for millions of dollars in prize money.
Now, it appears esports fever has swept across Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, according to a recent report from a North American digital marketing provider.
Gambling.com says the two Tri-Cities communities are among Canada's "esports obsessed cities" at first and seventh respectively.
The firm publishes informational portals that offer comparisons and reviews of regulated online gambling websites around the world.
Its obsession methodology, published publicly on May 18, was analyzed four-fold:
- Google Trends
- 10 most popular esports related keywords (in the past 12 months)
- Number of major esports events (within province in the past 12 months)
- Company HQ
- Number of esports company HQ's (within province)
- Number of active esports jobs (within province at time of research)
Coquitlam, the most obsessed reported of all Canadian cities, received a total Google Trends average score of 37.4.
In fact, the city is so "obsessed" that several high schools have formed e-teams to participate in BC School Sports-sanctioned events.
Port Coquitlam's average score was 16.9, putting the community ahead of Vancouver (15.8) in eighth, but behind the neighbouring communities of Maple Ridge (sixth, 18.7) and Burnaby (fifth, 27.2).
"Gamers around the world were eager to learn about alternative ways to compete with others, which led them to esports, a fairly new outlet for people to enjoy sports in an online environment," reads Gambling.com's report.
The group said 65 per cent of Canadian adults and 78 per cent of teens that took a separate survey claimed playing video games during the pandemic improved mental and emotional health.
Most of the competitive global or continental e-leagues involve role-play, fantasy or sports game-play tournaments, most notably League of Legends, Rocket League, Overwatch, Call of Duty and FIFA World Cup.
Meanwhile, B.C. was the third-most esports-crazed province in Canada with a Gambling.com index score of 69.5.
Ontario was first overall at 89.6, primarily due to its higher population compared to Québec (70.9) and B.C.