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InCrowd Recommends – The Round-Up

We’ve kicked off InCrowd Recommends, a series of tweets landing on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays offering recommendations from our team of sports nuts on Podcasts, TV series & documentaries and films that you should be listening to and watching. Every week, we’ll be adding to this round-up list so you can keep a checklist – ENJOY!

Podcasts

  • Quickly Kevin Will He Score? (FOOTBALL) – A series in which 90’s football aficionado Josh Widdicombe is joined by friends, and fellow 90s experts, co-host Chris Scull and ‘Director of Podcast’ Michael Marden, as the trio embark on a tour of niche football topics of the period 1st January 1990 to 31st December 1999. Worth looking back in the archives for classic episodes with the likes of Le Tissier, Lawrenson, Neville, Pearce and Frank Skinner.
  • Tailenders (CRICKET) – Radio 1 DJ Greg James, cricket legend Jimmy Anderson and The Maccabees guitarist Felix White deliver an alternative (and musical) look at cricket as well as often going a bit off-topic. Regularly funny & always interesting there are loads of episodes & live specials to catch up on. 
  • Undr the Cosh (FOOTBALL) is a podcast with Ex and current footballers presented by Jon ‘the Beast’ Parkin, Chris ‘ Browny’ Brown and award-winning writer Chris Brown. This is a very light-hearted series with ex-professional footballers who have very funny and interesting tales to tell.

TV Series & Documentaries

  • The Last Dance (BASKETBALL) – This highly anticipated series gives a definitive account of Michael Jordan’s career & the 90s Chicago Bulls, with unaired footage of the Chicago Bulls’ dramatic 97-98 NBA season. Jordan anchors the series, while star teammates Scottie Pippen and Rodman are among a host of NBA legends to speak alongside, journalists, childhood and college friends and Barack Obama.
  • Sunderland Till I Die (FOOTBALL) – This docuseries follows English soccer club Sunderland through the 2017-18 season as they try to bounce back after relegation from the Premier League. Season 2 follows the team under new ownership, as they start on their quest to climb out of the third division and bring pride and hope back to the club’s passionate fans.

  Films

  • Draft Day (NFL) – find it on Amazon Prime. An outstanding look at just what goes on behind the scenes of the NFL draft (note, if this is accurate, it is just crazy), this movie revolves around Sonny Weaver Jnr (Kevin Costner), the fictional general manager of the Cleveland Browns who is presented with the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick. He must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men dreams of playing in the NFL.
  • Coach Carter (BASKETBALL) –A 2005 American biographical teen sports drama film starring Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Thomas Carter. The film is based on the true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter, who made headlines in 1999 for suspending his undefeated high school basketball team due to poor academic results.

 

A World Without Sport – Part 1

It’s incredible to think that it was only two and a half weeks ago that 86,000 fans were packed inside the MCG watching the Australian Women’s Cricket team celebrate their ICC T20 World Cup title on stage with Katy Perry.

It was a seismic moment in women’s sport. Not only did the Aussie team capture the imagination of a generation of young girls with a sublime performance on International Women’s Day, but it was also the highest crowd figure ever for a women’s cricket match globally. As the sun set at the MCG, COVID-19 was simply something on the horizon. Of course, it looked terrible on the news in China and Italy, but still remained very much on the horizon…

 

 

Today, COVID-19 is the reality for every sports organisation around the world. Not even the most cautious sports executive would have forecast such a crisis. As Murray Barnett described on a recent Unofficial Partner Podcast, the sports industry is currently “punch drunk”. A situation in which no sport would be played around the world, and major competitions Euro 2020 and The Olympics would be postponed, is simply unthinkable.

Whilst there are bigger concerns for the world to deal with than the lack of sport, the COVID-19 crisis is of course unique. In other periods of crisis, from recessions to terrorism, sport has often provided comfort for people and generated positivity from the dire reality, and here we are without our usual go-to pick me up in this time of crisis.

So what do we do now?

For those currently at home (which should be everyone, #StayAtHome), the recent Netflix series “The English Game” is a great watch and a fabulous example of the power of sport as an important connective tissue to bind people together, both across and within societies. Without giving any spoilers away, the series dives back to the 1880’s and tells a story of two footballers on opposite sides of the class divide, who forge a bond to help bring the upper-class sport and its joy to the masses, in particular the mill workers of Northern England. It was the birth of modern football and professionalism as we know it, but the series at its core shows the power that sport has, even back in the 1880’s, to distract humans from life’s troubles.

 

Looking to the future

So as we navigate our way through this increasingly anxious and unknown period, the lack of sport only exacerbates this feeling. For the sports industry, the commercial consequences of media rights, sponsorship, ticketing and hospitality revenues suddenly drying up has sent shivers throughout the entire ecosystem, and will no doubt change the industry and its operating model forever. However, just as COVID-19 was on the horizon at MCG a few weeks ago, so too are the myriad of sports events that are to eventually come.

For any sports fan, the prospect of the European Championships, Olympics, Lions Tour, Ryder Cup, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and many other events sitting ready to reignite once the virus has passed is beyond exciting. As Southampton CEO Martin Semmens explained, that once it is safe to do so, the return of sport will be a crucial sign that life is ‘returning to normal’.

But for now, as fans rightly stay at home the sports series, archive footage and rightsholder digital platforms become more important than ever in keeping the sports audiences engaged (and sane!) whilst also keeping the commercial ecosystem alive. And when the sun rises, there is no doubt that sport will be welcomed back by the world with open arms, returning bigger and better than ever…

Keep an eye out…..

We’ll be keeping in touch and keeping you up-to-date with our “A World Without Sport” blog series. We’ll share as far and wide as we can when new posts go up but keep an eye on our social media channels and our website!

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