Inside Sport

June 2020

Celebrating over 20 years in print, Inside Sport is Australia's most highly awarded sporting publication, including the recipient of the prestigious Walkley Award for sport journalism. But that's not why sports fans love it. Inside Sport consistently tackles modern sporting issues and publishes awe-inspiring sports photography, every month. THAT'S why sports fans love it.

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in this issue

4 min
the new abnormal

So 2020 has been a helluva century – and we’re still only halfway through… From cricket played in bushfire smoke so thick you couldn’t see the wicket, to no sport whatsoever, to the early stages of a restart across all codes, it’s been a rollercoaster. It still remains to be seen if this current restart can be sustained. Australia has been incredibly vigilant, focused and, dare we say it, lucky, in confronting the coronavirus crisis, but any complacency could spark the dreaded second wave. While there has been tragedy, and there is still ongoing suffering even among those who survived the virus, on the whole, compared to most of the rest of the world, we’ve dodged a massive bullet. So far. But there are now new challenges. The economic one for the nation as…

3 min
darkest before dawn...

In the 2013 Tom Cruise-led blockbuster Oblivion, it dawns on the audience that it is the end of times when the one-time honorary Aussie trudges through an empty American football stadium. He mimics the commentary of a long-ago play – “Seconds left on the clock... the QB throws a hail mary... Touchdown!” – and throws his hands in the air in mock celebration. No fans applaud. The year is 2066; the movie is meh. The details are not essential. What is important is the baseline premise that without sports, we’ll always long for them. That Hollywood sci-fi future mirrors a lot of the AFL’s present day reality. Unless you’ve been too distracted by the toilet roll shortage, you’ll know this is due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. As we went into lockdown,…

4 min
covid-19 was the red card sports needed

Australian sport has seen better times. In less than two months, all professional codes have been postponed, thrown into a chaos never experienced before, lost two CEOs, and made cost-cutting a priority in the absence of broadcast revenue, translating to staff being stood down, salary cuts and renegotiated terms. While there is no question the virus has devastated economies across societies, a powerful message to professional sport has been the revelation that its business models are unsustainable, and rapid innovation is required to ensure survival in the post-COVID-19 world. The existing sports business model is simple but flawed, relying on revenue generated by broadcast rights, sponsorship and a bit of merchandise; all contingent upon a live event. Few sports have responded to the changing landscape and hedged by strategising for new versions…

10 min
sport's fight for survival

It was on, until it wasn't. Round one of the AFL season was still going when the campaign was incredibly suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic. The NRL bid to go on, until it could go no longer – and stopped after getting through two rounds, one of which was behind closed doors. Likewise the A-League ground to a halt just five weeks away from its finals series, similarly the NBL - and the F1 Grand Prix at Melbourne had the plug pulled at the 11th hour as fans literally queued at the gate to get in. Like sport around the world, Australian sport was brought to a standstill in March but, for a time at least, their suspended seasons paled into insignificance as the death toll grew and tens, then hundreds of thousands died…

6 min
coronavirus timeline

March 12: The NRL season begins with a clash between the Parramatta Eels and Canterbury Bulldogs in front of 21,363 people at Bankwest Stadium. March 13: As the Australian Formula One Grand Prix is cancelled, the AFL announces it will play round one behind closed doors. The NRL says the opening round will continue, but matches will be played without fans from round two onwards. CA puts a three-match ODI series against New Zealand behind closed doors. The A-League, meanwhile, and Super Rugby proceed as scheduled. Hours before game two, the NBL decides the rest of the Grand Final series between the Perth Wildcats and Sydney Kings will be played without fans. March 14: The New Zealand government says travellers from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival from March 15,…

25 min
50 things we can’t wait to see ...

Given the state of the world, the restart of AFL – and sport in general – is a welcome relief and a desperately needed distraction now more than ever. And there is plenty more to look forward to than just a return to action, as Rohan Connolly lists here... 1 FLEDGLING CLUB BECOMES FULL-BLOWN FORCE Greater Western Sydney has certainly taken great on-field strides, now having appeared in a grand final and finishing in the top four for three of the past four years. But off-field, signs are looking pretty encouraging, too. The Giants membership in 2019 topped the 30,000 mark for the first time in their eight-season history, a 16 per cent increase on 2018’s 25,243, and just on double the figure only four years ago in 2016. Coming so close…