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Sportpocalypse: the new codes rising from the dust

Are you not entertained? Don't worry, you soon will be.

Sport might be on its knees - but it won’t stay down for long.

It will adapt, survive and then thrive, regardless of the increasingly grim impacts of Covid-19.

The temporary demise of mass market sports is clearly a blow for the major codes. But with change comes opportunity.

And, as it happens, this column is poised to pounce on the gap in the market like an obsessive compulsive who has just spotted the last container of hand sanitiser on the shelf at Countdown.

For all you couch potatoes needing your daily fix of vicarious athletics, a veritable smorgasbord of new entertainment opportunities will be making its way around the digital lazy Susan to you very shortly.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, all that is required is a subtle adaptation or two to reflect the realities of a global pandemic and subsequent post-apocalyptic environment.

As an aspiring sports promoter, this column has already beaten a path to the doors of SKY TV and Spark Sport armed with a full schedule of can’t miss, low-budget made-for-TV sports adaptations.

Obviously we can’t share all of the best ideas in this forum, but we can provide a tease of the Covid-friendly sporting delights we plan to deliver for digital subscription holders.

Highlights of the forthcoming schedule include:

Gutter yachting

Think of it as a low-tech, tightly salary-capped version of the America’s Cup. Competing syndicates will receive a budget of $10 to buy construction materials from whatever is left on the shelves at Pak n Save. When the acid rains arrive, the ‘boats’ will be released into the swiftly flowing gutters of a deserted Upper Queen Street. Just like the America’s Cup, foiling (in this case using discarded Magnum wrappers to combat the aforementioned acid content of the water) is allowed.

This event is actually closer than you may suspect. We launched the first trial regatta in December – but unfortunately no racing has yet been possible due to the clement weather. But, if it ever rains again, we’re on, baby.

Fallout bunker squash

Clearly designed with widespread pestilence and a subsequent nuclear winter in mind, squash’s thick concrete walls make it the ideal sport for the enthusiastic self-isolator. The key to successful competition is the block booking of a 1980s-era squash court for every minute of the next six to 12 months.

Participants are encouraged to take enough supplies onto court to last until herd immunity has been established by the species, a chemical toilet and, ideally, an opponent. Matches will be first to 100,000, or whoever is in front when the last ball gets stuck in the ceiling lights.

Pocket billiards

More of a pastime than a sport, admittedly, pocket billiards is already on the comeback and participation levels will only increase as self-isolation increases. Participants appear to be taking it quite seriously, too, if this article about stockpiling supplies is to be believed. We haven’t fully formulated how this traditional solo activity will translate into a TV sport – but suffice to say it will screen after the 9.00pm watershed.

The fact that people willingly watch golf proves there is an existing viewership for sports centred on idle time wasting, so prospects for long-term success are high.

Major League Hide & Seek

A classic example of an idea before its time, MLH&S has been flagged as a ‘can’t miss’ prospect with the world’s most powerful TV execs for almost a decade – without one of them ever returning a call.

More fool you, ESPN and Star Sports Asia.

A concept formulated while on the sidelines of a netball game in which this column’s growth-impaired daughter’s team was thrashed by Amazonians, Major League Hide & Seek reverses the paradigm of greater size equating to physical superiority.

An ability to squeeze into small places and remain silent – also handy skills when the zombie apocalypse descends - are the major attributes of a major league hider.

The updated pitch sees the original concept of the seekers being on remand violent offenders replaced by Covid carriers, adding an extra layer of Hunger Games excitement and human drama for the viewers at home.

UFC – Vegas Thunderdome

Another event that is well on its way to fruition. A sport almost entirely based on the third instalment of the Mad Max movies, UFC was always going to be well prepared for humanity’s end game. Dana White’s video message confirming that all shows will now take place in UFC’s mothership cage located in a den of iniquity surrounded by a desert (aka Las Vegas) is a natural progression for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Expect the introduction of chainsaws, deadly midgets and Tina Turner to be confirmed for UFC 250.

Hold onto your jocks folks. The future of sportainment is coming to your position of self-isolation very soon. Sign up now and we’ll even throw in a free bog roll.

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