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Experiencing sport in the virtual arena  

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MAPFRE has a strong bond with sport; it leads directly to the company’s values of trust, innovation and a committed team. We interviewed Daniel Ricciardo about his passion for sport over the past few months, reflecting on the changes that have taken place in terms of matches without spectators, online training and the increased popularity of soccer and basketball video games. It is a question of experiencing sport, even in a virtual arena.

For the first time in history, the Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed and are not expected to be held until 2021. The pandemic has brought the world of sport to a halt. Events have had to be canceled and professionals and fans have been forced to miss out during lockdowns of varying severity. This continues with current restrictions often disrupting events, limiting group sizes and discouraging training or meeting at the gym and other venues. And yet the world has never been so aware of the benefits of sport and of maintaining social hobbies, even virtually.

So our passions remain steadfast, but what has changed in sport and leisure? Events such as the Champions League and the Bundesliga were streamed from behind closed doors. Famous events such as the Boston, London and Paris marathons had to be canceled. Depending on the sport, country and status of the pandemic, all that fans could enjoy during lockdown were solo races where times were logged online, matches with no spectators and virtual events.

Globally, the sports industry is worth 766 billion dollars annually, but above all it is driven by passion. That is why it has been so important for top sportspeople to show their human side in recent months, sharing health tips, intimate aspects of their lives and supportive messages. Let’s reflect on what this period has meant with Daniel Ricciardo, a driver on the Renault DP World F1 Team:


“When sport returned, Formula 1, basketball, everything, I felt that the world became a happier place,” he confesses.

The Renault DP World F1 Team, sponsored by MAPFRE, has offered several Formula 1 Grand Prix virtual tours for employees of the company in recent months, an initiative that has excited fans and has been highly valued within the organization. MAPFRE’s link to sport is unbreakable and makes more sense than ever, because it leads directly to the company’s values of trust, innovation and a committed team.

Health and emotional well-being

Sport is also good for our health and emotional stability, two things that are all the more crucial at the moment, both for individuals and for the development of societies. The WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense activity per day, or 75 minutes of high-intensity activity per week.  

Many people can exercise at home — even without equipment and within a limited space. Even the sedentary can stretch, do housework, climb stairs or dance to music. There are plenty of free online resources to keep you active, as well as fitness games, free tutorials on social networks, meditation and yoga apps, and dance classes for the whole family. Schools are providing young people with online learning resources, and many fitness centers and gyms are offering discounted subscriptions that include access to online videos and instructors via virtual platforms. 

Online arenas have replaced traditional formats, multiplying entertainment content and media: we are witnessing the heyday of the gaming world. According to recent data from Bloomberg Intelligence, Electronic Arts, the renowned games publisher, gained 7 million new players in Q2, double the comparable figure for the previous year, and the number of active players for the popular game NBA 2K20 grew 82 percent. As we progress toward normality, nostalgia will surely take us back, but the great professionals, the formats and the memory of how the world managed to find substitutes for its greatest hobby will remain.