Has Anybody Noticed That Sport Is Never Off TV These Days?

16 July 2019
Cricket World Cup, Premier League, Football, F1, Wimbledon
Image: Getty
A beautiful utopia for some, torture for others, one thing is for certain – sports stars needs to be super human in 2019

Unless you happen to be one of those people with an aversion to spectator sports (or have broadband issues), you’ll be well aware – perhaps by now bored – that Sunday was a day of sporting drama quite like no other.

A record-breaking British Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone. One of the greatest Wimbledon finals of all time. And a stunning finale to an Africa Cup of Nations semi-final in Egypt.

And even then, the achievements of Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic and Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, were still overshadowed. By cricket, no less – not exactly the most dramatic of spectator sports… at least not usually.

However, two days on from England’s World Cup final triumph over New Zealand and it’s still barely believable that the one-day, 50-overs match finished tied on 241 runs each, went into the Super Over which was also drawn by 15 runs, the hosts finally winning the cup on account of having scored more boundaries. Sporting events are rarely decided by such absurdly fine margins. And it made for must-watch television.

Those victorious England players deserve a long holiday. As do the emotionally drained fans, you’d imagine. And yet, in two weeks, cricket will be back with no less a series than the 2019 Ashes between England and Australia. If test cricket proves anywhere near as exciting as the one-day World Cup, then expect even the least invested of viewers to keep an eye on the cricket this summer.

But it does raise a question on whether sport, in all its different form and formats, ever takes a break these days? Are we living in an age were sport on television simply unavoidable?

There was time, not too long ago, when the football season would take place between August and May. Its end would signal the start of a summer of cricket.

Every two years would see the World Cup and European Championships extend the football season. The Olympics would share a summer with the Euros. Summer in odd calendar years were saved for weddings and other major family occasions.

But today, happily for some but certainly not for others, there is no respite from high profile sporting events.

This summer, an odd-year one don’t forget, saw the superb FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Copa America, The Gold Cup, UEFA U21 Euro 2019, and the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations. And that’s just the football.

The Cricket World Cup ran from May 30 to July 14 and the Formula 1 stated on March 17 and will conclude at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on December 1. There are many more.

And it’s all down to television. Or, to be exact, television advertising.

But while it might appear a happy medium for all; sport organisers and associations, broadcasters and the marketing men, it’s perhaps less so for those involved.

The events of Super Sunday will surely live long in the memory, but at what cost? Just what effect is the constant demand to perform at the highest level putting on a generation of sportsmen and women… and does big sport business even care?

You see, we might well binge on sporting events in the same way we do Stranger Things, but it’s unlikely that Dustin and the gang required cortisone injections just to make it through the season – although, admittedly, it might have helped in tackling the Mind Flayer.

Back in reality, a middle ground surely needs to be found.

Of course, until then, those of us who on Sunday were glued to our televisions, laptops and smartphones – often at the same time – will continue to tune in to sport in all its omnipresent glory.

For the rest, well, you’ve always been saying that you’d like to read more, right?