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ABC Grandstand to Report at Home Amid Pandemic

At Leaders of Evolution, we understand the importance of emotional support and community between athletes, fans, commentators and more, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, remaining safe is of utmost importance for all Australia sports. 

ABC Radio Grandstand, the live radio sports commentary program, has been forced to make some safety adjustments to its routine broadcasts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ABC Grandstand commentary team is planning to call the 2020 Australian Football League (AFL) games locally in Melbourne, instead of travelling to attend any in-person games. This decision inevitably came as COVID-related safety precautions led to interstate travel restrictions and audience limitations for various sports across Australia. 

ABC Grandstand | Leaders of Evolution
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti of the Bombers kicks at goal during the Round 4 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Brisbane Lions at the MCG in Melbourne, Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AAP Image/Daniel Pockett) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

ABC Grandstand Team Pushing Through

The ABC Grandstand Team called the AFL Grand Final rematch at Giants Stadium between Richmond and Greater Western Sydney not in Sydney, but in the ABC boardroom in Melbourne. In a room limited to only 13 people at a time remained the ABC Grandstand commentators, in a wider room than the original commentary box they are used to. Instead of being in the middle of the field hovering over players in a tight ox at the end of the wing, expert commentators settled on surrounding a large table with a mixing panel in the centre of them. At the front of the room stand the large television screens on which the AFL Grand Final rematch will play. The game might be more difficult to follow on a screen instead of in the box, but the benefits of staying safe and social distancing in Melbourne far outweigh the reasons for risking safety and health. 

In an interview with Matilda Marozzi, tech Stuart Baker says, “I don’t mind it in here if we can’t be at the ground.” Despite the difficulties that the ABC Grandstand team have had to face, “it’s kind of interesting because it is new,” expert commentator Cameron Ling says. And interesting it is, as body language and communication are reinvented in a room where commentators are spread at least six-feet apart, instead of shoulder-to-shoulder like usual. Instead of tapping one another to aid in communication, experts point to each other and find other ways to stay on top of their A-game. Commentator Alister Nicholson says to Marozzi, “even her just turning her head is enough for me to know it is my turn to call,” proving the focus cultivated after years of working together as an ABC Grandstand team. ABC Grandstand’s socially-distanced broadcast in Melbourne is a testament to our need to adapt during this pandemic.

The Future of Sports and COVID-19 Questions

ABC Grandstand | Leaders of Evolution

In addition to the continuation of sports commentary and athletic programming on ABC Grandstand, the live radio program has connected with concerning sports fans and all Australians through social media.

Sport: An Outlet As Much as a Question

Athletes, experts and just fans alike are all concerned about the future of sports, especially with so many games being postponed or cancelled during the trying peaks of the pandemic. As some programs slowly start-up again worldwide, there’s still a question about the future of athletics. In one video on ABC Grandstand’s Facebook, the question is posed: Can sport be the outlet from coronavirus?

The debate between whether the AFL should have suspended the game was a main topic in the ABC Grandstand video. “They’ll have something to talk about other than the virus. As bad as the game was for the dogs — we collectively — we’re strange and this is the way we get rid of a bit of pent-up tension, is through our sport.” 

Additional resources and discussions have been posted to the ABC Grandstand Facebook page as well as a Coronavirus Q&A Live Stream with Tracey Holmes, Paul Kennedy and Matti Clemen, discussing frequently asked questions back in May when the live stream broadcast was posted. Why are some public areas such as restaurants and pubs open while there are such restrictions on sporting events and more? What are the recent findings on the pandemic and how have those new scientific findings affect the fitness and athletic community? 

Additionally, tune into the Coronacast with Norman Swan and Tegan Taylor for all of your coronavirus-related questions and how the rest of the world is handling the pandemic. Dr Norman Swan is the producer and presenter of the Health Report, with a career-driven by keeping the Australian public updated on public health developments. Tegan Taylor is a health and science journalist at ABC Grandstand in the Science Unit.  

About ABC Grandstand

ABC Radio Grandstand is a live radio sports-centred commentary program that runs on the Australian Broadcast Corporation. Simone Thurtell was a presenter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC Local Radio’s Grandstand program along with other presenters, Karen Tighe, Tracy Holmes and Peter Walsh. ABC Grandstand broadcasts a number of sports programs including Test, One Day and domestic cricket, the Rugby League, the Australian Football League and the soccer A-League. 

Leaders of Evolution Supports ABC Grandstand

ABC Grandstand | Leaders of Evolution

Leaders of Evolution is proud to support the continued success of ABC Grandstand and the persistence of ABC Grandstand’s commentators and fans during the pandemic. Leaders of Evolution knows the importance of community in sport, and at Leaders of Evolution, we believe that remaining together as a community is necessary for Australian sport. Leaders of Evolution, an organization centred around education, athletics and business, we recognize the importance of supporting organizations like ABC Grandstand by staying informed through their various programs.

To learn more about our making the most of this time during the pandemic, click here to see how athletes can benefit from our courses.

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Isabella Grella

Excited to be exploring the intersection of emerging tech and professionalism for Leaders of Evolution. While a huge music and social-media junkie, Bella takes time to go offline and run, hike and travel with friends.

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