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  • Not Enough Bang For The Buck

    Note that again there wasn't a single day that was a complete sell-out at the Worlds. It can be argued that they've been using stadia of late that are too big, but I also note that the last legit SRO crowds we had were in Stuttgart in '93.

    What happened in '95, '97, '99, '01 and '03? IAAF changed the format and got rid of the rest day. Perhaps a coincidence, but strikes me that even with the addition of a women's event since then that there are too many sessions that are just too devoid of action and don't justify the high ticket prices.

    Also hasn't helped that the WC standards have become tied to the tough OG ones, resulting in the loss of rounds. For example, between Stuttgart and Paris the men's 400 lost a rounds, the men's 10K lost a round.

    Or, check out a primo event like the men's 1500. In Stuttgart 44 men were in the heats. In Paris it was 28, leading to a ludicrous situation where the heats were run to eliminate only 4 and the 4 who were eliminated were toss-ins from the third world who couldn't break 3:50 (and I don't mean for the mile!).

    The IAAF needs to reconsider this self-destructive policy. Their crown jewel is starting to look like one of those recent NCAAs, with Q rounds that mean nothing.

  • #2
    Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

    The double-sided sword is that the whole event really could be put on in 4 really good days, which would heighten everyone's enjoyment, from stadium spectator to TV viewer,

    but

    the instances of athletes doubling, tripling, etc. would plummet precipitously and THAT'S what the media (and we) really like, multiple golds champions.

    The IAAF needs to find a way to satisfy both needs. It can be done.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

      A compressed schedule with less heats would heighten interest -- for a spectator, either in the stadium or at home, to sit through three hours with only one final, is asking a lot. You're not going to fill 70,000-seat stadia with cognoscenti anxious to see a 10,000 heat.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

        Gary,
        Maybe you haven't recovered from the return trip and you need to go back to bed. I was there for the first 5 nights and the stadium was almost full. There was live coverage on the TV. There was no blackout rule like they have in the NFL.
        So what's the deal? Do you think that only bad news sells? This makes me wonder about the other issues that you raise where I don't have first hand knowledge.
        Take a deep breath, get a cup of coffee and a Krispy Kreeme.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

          I don't deny the stadium was "almost full," but there were no sellouts (it's like being pregnant, either you is or you ain't).

          You're looking at the small picture, I think, while I'm trying to look at a far bigger one. Since Stuttgart there have now been 45 days of WC competition. Not one of them--not ONE--has been a sellout. That's a disturbing trend, and one the IAAF needs to look at.

          I'm not trying to "sell bad news" as you put it. Note that on other threads I called this one of the greatest Worlds ever (although in retrospect perhaps it's a 9-way tie for 1st), and said the last day was unbelievably good. That's great news for the hard-core fans of the world, but there aren't enough of us to sustain the sport. We need to continue to pull in the man off the street, and I don't think we're doing that.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

            Garry,
            Maybe in your world you are right. I walked around Paris for a week and never found so many track (athletics) fans. The lady in the bank, the clerk at the convenience store, some guy standing at a bar in front of a "64 Jazy photo,and the taxi driver all knew more about the elites than does the local hs track coach. This was my first WC, but it sounds like you see the glass as half empty.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

              Again, it's big picture vs. small picture. Paris in and of itself (as with all the other Worlds) was a wonderful-wonderful experience and everybody's glass was overflowing.

              But in terms of trends from Helsinki to now? That glass gets less full all the time. More people need to stand back and take a wide-angle view or one day there won't be a view.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

                The fact that Stuttgart was the first time the Worlds went to the every-two-year format makes me believe there's a connection. Market saturation, as it were. It used to be that the only time all of the world's best got together was the OG; originally the WC satisfied that hunger. Now you've got the OG, WC, Weltklasse, GP/World Final -- even in the off-year there's no real dry spell.

                I made darn sure I got to Edmonton because that kind of meet just doesn't come to this side of the Atlantic. But if I lived in Europe, I'd have lots of options. That may be a factor and it may not.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

                  How about this?

                  Run the preliminary rounds/heats are various meets in the month preceding the WC. Then hold a finals only WC that lasts 4 or 5 days with the spacing of 2 or 3 days between the likely double events (i.e. 5k & 10k).

                  This would likely draw sell-outs for most days of the finals and would allow for the top athletes to go harder in the prelims to ensure they made the final.

                  For instance: The qualifying cut-off date is July 31st. The 100 & 400 prelims are held during the XXX meet in Zurich on Aug 4th, the 200 and 1500 prelims in Oslo on Aug 7th, and so on until you reach a Sept 1 - 5th World Championships. (you may need 2 meets for the prelims of some events and some would not need any).

                  The other meets could still have their regular schedules (to some degree) with just a couple events with special qualifiers and WC Prelim status.

                  Ok, now that I've stepped out let me know what I missed.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

                    I think that pretty much everywhere else in the world 'athletics' is doing OK (hence the Paris commonfolk comments). It's growing in Africa and Asia, because they are now competitive. I heard much gnashing of teeth on the 'Five Live' reports because GB was under-performing, so it may be down a little there, but they still get much more coverage than we do, and they care that they are not doing as well as they used to. Our (USA) problem is that our attention is glutted with some very high profile sports that leave little room. The top tier sports (NFL, MLB, NBA) and second tier (NFL, NASCAR, golf, tennis) sports saturate our media. We have two options: carve out a prominent place in the third tier (MLS comes to mind) through some savvy marketing or sit where we are and trust that the hard-core fan is loyal and really is the only one we are ever going to reach anyway. The latter may be true, but we need to at least try the former seriously. That's where USATF is letting us down right know.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

                      One really should look at what he has written - the first second-tier sport was supposed to be NHL.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

                        Anyone who thinks track is doing just fine in Europe is delusional. Meets are being cancelled left and right. Okay, not the biggees, like Golden League meets, but the smaller ones are folding all over the place. And it's these meets that bring the sport to the smaller venues and the average fan. And it's these meets that nurture talent and help them improve to the level where they can compete at the bigger meets.

                        If Paris was close to sell-outs, it's only because the French Federation gave away thousands of tickets to clubs around the country.

                        Who cares if the sport is gaining popularity in Africa and smaller nations in Asia? They're not putting on meets that are allowing athletes to make a living. What's important is that the sport stay popular in Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain, etc.

                        The IAAF is fiddling while the track world burns.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

                          >How about this?

                          Run the preliminary
                          >rounds/heats are various meets in the month
                          >preceding the WC. Then hold a finals only WC
                          >that lasts 4 or 5 days with the spacing of 2 or 3
                          >days between the likely double events (i.e. 5k &
                          >10k).

                          This would likely draw sell-outs for
                          >most days of the finals and would allow for the
                          >top athletes to go harder in the prelims to
                          >ensure they made the final.

                          Ok, now that
                          >I've stepped out let me know what I missed.


                          There is some advantage to having some heats at the WC -- for U.S. fans, it does pique interest to see if someone makes it to the finals in distance events. If finals only, no U.S. athletes even have a chance of appearing in many events. I'm sure the same feeling would hold among other countries' fans -- it would reduce interest in WC rather than increase it. Somewhere a balance needs to be found -- some compression but not make it just another Golden Leaguer.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

                            Well, first - thanks for calling me delusional! Unfortunately I have immediate evidence to the contrary. Second, if you look at the gb athletics calender web-page, there's a constant parade of pretty good 'smaller' meets to keep Europe happy. I wish we WERE doing as well as Europe. Our college calender is very good, but we stink between college and the Pre/US Open type meets.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Not Enough Bang For The Buck

                              Track in the U.S. has been very week for decades. It's actually getting a bit better, with meets like adidas Portland and Home Depot gaining momentum.

                              But American athletes make their money on the European circuit, and many of these meets are drying up.

                              I don't think you can make a case for the strength of the sport in England by looking at a schedule. Peter Matthews, one of the most respected statisticians/commentators/experts was lamenting in Paris about the sorry state of the sport in England.

                              Any agent or meet promoter will tell you that it's tougher and tougher to get sponsorship in order to put on meets.

                              Comment

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