The importance of stories

I’m a big sports fan, mainly of cricket and football but also horse racing, cycling, baseball, tennis and more or less anything. And I’ve missed them during lockdown, but nowhere near as much as I thought I would. That’s because of what has replaced them.

Like most of us who are lucky enough to have the time (with no young children or working in the healthcare sector), my media consumption has ballooned during the lockdown, but what I’ve sought out, – or been presented with by AI models – are stories.

In the UK football media, which dominates all other sports media as it does in most European countries, without nothing live to show or post-match analysis to ponder, presenters have started telling stories Stories about past matches, with collective viewing parties, stories about the tangential history of the game. And the fact that the Last Dance Michale Jordan documentary series was the most-watched original content ever on ESPN hammers home the point that people love stories.

Live sport will be back soon and that will be great. But so have been the stories. It’s something to bear in mind when we get back to presenting our thoughts to an audience.

You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built in the human plan. We come with it. – Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale

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