Say ‘No’ to online, sport needs your local dollars

And remember, there’s no such thing as too much sport . . .

When I first wrote those words about three years ago, it seemed like a good tagline for a sports column, but now in 2020, any sport at all seems a lifetime away — much less too much sport.

Sport has always been a great way to take our minds off the problems of the world.

But now, a virus known as COVID-19 has shut down pretty well every sporting event in the world.

The NRL. Shutdown. Hopefully it will restart May 28.

AFL . Shutdown. No restart date announced yet.

Sheffield Shield Cricket. Season ended with NSW being named champions.

NBL. Season ended with Perth being named champions.

International Cricket. All cancelled.

Olympics. Since 1896, the Olympics have been held every four years.

The only time they have been cancelled was due to World War I and II. Now even the Olympics have been postponed until 2021

NBA, NFL and MLB. All suspended.

The only live sport I can find is horse racing, which is going ahead on empty tracks.

Major sports rely heavily on advertising and broadcast rights, with most NRL clubs relying heavily on sponsorship from licensed clubs for revenue.

These clubs too have been impacted, as all licensed pubs and clubs have been shutdown.


Some pubs are still operating as bottle shops, but their revenue has taken a massive hit, and their ability to sponsor major sports is going to be tested.

One thing that has grown during this crisis is the use of online shopping.

With shops closing left, right and centre, online sales are booming, with some people predicting that even after the crisis ends, many people will stick with online shopping.

For major sports like the NRL and AFL, they will bounce back.

There is likely to be some rationalisation within clubs as sponsorship dollars fall.

Future contracts may not be as generous, and support staff may be trimmed.

Some NRL clubs may even fold, but the NRL will restart. Hopefully this year, but if lockdowns are not lifted in time, the 2020 season may have to be cancelled.

When the season was suspended after two rounds, last year’s premiers, the Roosters, had lost both games.

If the season does not restart the Roosters will hold the dubious record of being the first premiers in history to fail to win a game the following year.

The sporting clubs that I worry about however are the local football and cricket clubs. The junior sports clubs. Little Athletics.

They rely on small local clubs and pubs and other small business to sponsor them.

Without these sponsors, the cost to participate in local sport may become prohibitive to many, especially those who now rely on government benefits.

So when the lockdown is over and we are all allowed back into the real world again, I want everyone to go back to what they were doing before this all started.

Shop locally. Have a drink and a feed at your local pub or club. Buy meat from your local butcher. Use your local sports shop.

Resist the temptation to keep buying online. Online businesses do not support your local sporting teams.

Our communities need sporting clubs to help us get fit and socialise. It will be a great way to help us all recover. We need to support all the businesses that support local sport.

And remember, there’s no such thing as too much sport!


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