9 Apr 2020

Sport is out there - you just have to look for it

4:56 pm on 9 April 2020

The irony - even though it might seem like an age ago now, the summer saw the roll out of Sky Sports' latest ad campaign.

New Zealand Counties Manukau Rugby union player, Jonah Lomu getting tackled during a match, npc rugby 1999

Facebook groups have been showcasing vintage NPC footage back when high profile All Blacks such as Jonah Lomu still played in the competition. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fresh off announcing they'd secured rights to screen rugby and brokered a partnership with the game's governing body, Sky's ad was a clever bit of entertainment showing a toddler streaking across a beach to the dismay of some inept lifeguards, summed up with the tagline 'Life Needs More Sport'.

Because that's what sport is, an escape.

Only a few weeks later and our lives desperately need more sport, because we find ourselves not having any at all.

It was the first thing taken away from normal, day to day life and it'll likely be one of the last things to return.

But, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, so here are a few ways to get a bit of a sporting fix while we wait this out inside.


While Sky is valiantly rerunning as many games as it can, there are a wide range of others available on YouTube if you look hard enough.

There are a couple of quality Facebook pages to have a look at that specialise in provincial relics, with NPC Rugby History one for fans of the days when rucking was very much legal, while Seasons Of Blue and Gold focuses on Otago highlights of the same era.

AllBlacks.com is getting in on the retro action as well, they are streaming the classic documentary 'The Good, The Bad and the Rugby' this Sunday complete with director's commentary.


Much like their so-crazy-it-just-might work contingency plan to keep the competition going, the NRL clearly thought ahead for a moment like this.

NRL.com has at least a season's worth of games available to watch online, including every State of Origin game and all Premiership grand finals dating back to 1966.

There's also a selection of memorable regular season matches to choose from, as well as documentaries.

On YouTube there are plenty more, with That's Rugby League covering the game's history or The Fibros and the Silvertails, a fantastic look at the bitter rivalry between Western Suburbs and Manly in the late 1970's.


The ICC is sadistically committed to reminding us of last year's World Cup final, so best to stay away from their social media feeds.

Instead, Australian @robelinda2's now legendary Twitter feed is much better for providing memorable clips and classic matches from what must be a warehouse-sized VHS collection.


Newsreel service British Pathé have digitised their collection of over 85,000 films to YouTube, which include FA Cup finals dating back to 1923 (Bolton Wanderers v West Ham played in front of an estimated crowd of 300,000).

FIFA also has an exhaustive supply of World Cup archives available, including entire official films - but if you want something a bit different you can just watch Diego Maradona warming up for Napoli in 1989 on repeat.


While the IOC copped a fair amount of grief for their slow realization that the 2020 Games had to be postponed for a year, they do deserve a serious pat on the back for ensuring that Olympic history has been preserved in the most beautiful way possible.

All official Olympic films, most clocking in at over two or three hours, are on YouTube and are some of the most impressive examples of cinematic brilliance ever made.

German director Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia, which covers the 1936 Berlin Games, pioneered some of the sporting camerawork that is present to this day (although be aware that if you watch that one, she gives a notoriously flattering portrayal of the guy running Germany at the time).

American Sports

Sky's ESPN feed has begun replaying baseball games from decades ago, but the one sporting event on the horizon that can go ahead regardless of the current situation is the NFL Draft.

Originally scheduled to take place in Nevada in a fortnight, it'll now be conducted over the phone and broadcast online.

ESPN are also screening their highly regarded 30 For 30 documentary series, and will hopefully replay the outstanding OJ: Made In America epic.


The UFC is the only big name sporting competition actually still going, with boss Dana White trying to organise an Enter The Dragon style arrangement on a private island somewhere.

The UFC FightPass app is currently offering past pay-per-views for free in the meantime.

Likewise, pro wrestling fans can take advantage of the WWE network being free for now, with every Wrestlemania and an exhaustive supply of other content available.

There's even more culturally significant wrestling moments on YouTube, like Chris Jericho's memorable debut on Monday Night Raw.


With their seasons suspended, Formula 1 and the V8 Supercars have gone for literally the next best thing.

Scott McLaughlin wins the 2019 Australia Supercars Championship. The New Zealand driver hoisted the trophy following yesterday's final race of 2019 at Newcastle 500.

Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has been able to occupy his time during the pandemic. Photo: EDGE Photographics

They're replacing each race that is scheduled to take place with a virtual equivalent played on the official PC games, with a selection of actual drivers, esports stars and other celebrities taking part.

The races are streamed live, with proper commentary and vastly more aggressive driving given that there are no multi-million dollar cars to be potentially destroyed.

There was even a Kiwi win first up when Scott McLaughlin took out the first virtual Supercars race on Wednesday night.

Out of all the measures taken by sports to fill the gap, this one is easily the most likely to continue and probably thrive once we're out the other side of the current situation.