Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

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For professional rugby, Covid 19 could not have come at a worse time

Rugby has long been transformed from a sport to a business. Now, that business has been shut down, just as it was set to negotiate a suite of global television deals. Given that many clubs and national unions were already strained, can it adapt to a world of social distancing?

15th May, 2020 - 8 min read

It has long been one of the great closing-time arguments – is professional sport a sport these days or just an extension of business?

In recent years, as the last of the Corinthians watched the decline of amateurism, the relentless power of cash was transforming sport into a powerful extension of the consumer industry. Finally, the Rubicon was crossed with the arrival of television rights – especially satellite television. From that point, whoever sport belonged to, it certainly didn’t belong to the fans anymore. 

Covid -19 has revealed the extent to which professional sport is dependent on its television franchises. As rugby has just...

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