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  • How much did Pre Classic make?

    Now that we've all had out Pre Classic orgasms, I'd like to throw some cold water on y'all and raise a long-overdue issue:

    If this is professional track, where's the money?

    A gazillion sites detail NFL/MLB/NBA player salaries, team revenues, broadcast income and the like. Every year, the Super Bowl generates a thousand stories just on how much a 30-second ad costs.

    But when someone sez "pro track," the public goes: Wha? Nobody talks about the underlying finances. Yes, I know that USATF, Visa and IAAF have prize structures, but the real dough is in corporate sponsorships and appearance fees.

    Yet these figures remain a deep, dark secret (to me at least). And I'm not asking just to satisfy my craven curiosity. I'm asking as a way to get pro track to grow up and act like a professional sport. You don't get taken seriously in this culture unless you talk dollars and cents, and incessantly.

    So I'd like to focus on the Pre Classic as an example.

    Meet director Tom Jordan has the answers. Here are some questions:

    On the expense side:

    1. How much did Pre athletes get paid, total?
    2. Who were the top 5 in terms of payouts? The bottom 5?
    3. What was the average payout?
    4. What did the rabbits make?
    5. What did the officials make?
    6. What did the UofO charge for facility rental, security, cleanup, etc.?
    7. Any special performance incentives? What payouts were made, if any?
    8. How much would a Gatlin-Powell race have cost?

    On the revenue side:

    1. How much was the gate?
    2. How much did concessions make?
    3. How much did ESPN pay for broadcast rights?
    4. How much did commercials bring in? Per 30-second spot?
    5. How much did USATF make, Nike make?
    6. What was your cut for directing the meet?

    Such questions are common fodder in business-of-sports publications and financial sites. But for some reason, talking cash is taboo in track -- even more so than the blacks-are-better thing.

    So, TJ, whaddya say? Let's air this issue out.

    K E N
    K E N

  • #2
    Ken:

    You ask too many questions with logic behind them!

    Given Dwight Stones recent comments concerning what it would take to bring fans into the Addidas Classic (and for that matter, any other big name invite in the U.S.), I think it is starting to become clear to many that despite official pronouncements to the contrary, Joe Q. Public doesn't CARE one whit about whether track and field is PRO or NOT. The viewership necessary for the sport to become a widely recognized PRO sport, as defined in U.S. terms, would only come about when the majority of little kids out there look at track and field as a BETTER alternative to football, baseball, and basketball. And I can assure you, I don't see that happening anytime soon. We are a NICHE sport at best, and will remain that for at least several more generations to come.

    Look at it this way...I competed at the D1 level and now coach at the D3 level in college. I can't tell you how many athletes I've seen injure themselves playing pick-up BASKETBALL during the season. Also, at many meets I attend, I see kids throwing a football or two around on the perimeters of the field. Just goes to show you how pervasive is the mindset of those sports into our own and every other niche sport. THAT, my friends, is why we will remain on the fringes of PRO-DOM for a LONG time to come. Hardcore facts...yes. Despressing facts...yes, if you were truly under the illusion otherwise.

    Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.

    Kurt

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kurt Francis
      I can't tell you how many athletes I've seen injure themselves playing pick-up BASKETBALL during the season. Also, at many meets I attend, I see kids throwing a football or two around on the perimeters of the field. Just goes to show you how pervasive is the mindset of those sports into our own and every other niche sport. Kurt
      All it shows me is something I know from experience. Basketball and football are games and games are fun to play. Those kids probably do other things for recreation as well.

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      • #4
        TrackCEO
        Audit them.
        Infact audit WADA, IAAF, OG comittee while you're at it.

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        • #5
          The answer to all your questions is the same: none of your business. Or anybody else's. This is private enterprise here, using no public funds. In this country, people are free to run their businesses as they please last time I looked.

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          • #6
            GH is correct, I'm sure. BUT, I for one would love to have all this info. And I'm sure it would tell us a lot about the "real" nature of the sport today.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by gh
              The answer to all your questions is the same: none of your business. Or anybody else's. This is private enterprise here, using no public funds. In this country, people are free to run their businesses as they please last time I looked.
              Are they paying royalties to use the name Prefontaine???
              If not, I'm sure Pre would not be too happy about that.

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              • #8
                Pre's family have been honored guests at the meet every year since its inception.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by gh
                  Pre's family have been honored guests at the meet every year since its inception.
                  This is very good for the family much agreed.
                  Is the family further honored with royalties?

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                  • #10
                    NOT ALL PRIvate

                    Originally posted by gh
                    The answer to all your questions is the same: none of your business. Or anybody else's. This is private enterprise here, using no public funds. In this country, people are free to run their businesses as they please last time I looked.
                    Hayward field IS NOT PRIVATE. I'm sure some sports or business writer for the ERG should be able to get those figures at least on rental cost, security etc.[Or callem up and get a quote for the"meet you are promoting this September"]HEE HEE HEE. Also however the info gets out about SUPER BOWL commercial costs can also be aquired. ESPN is part of a public Corp[DisneyABCCable80% and 20% by Hearst Corp] so that info shopuld be available for stockholders. Nike also.
                    That leaves Tom Jordan corp or whatever the company that promotes the meet is called. If it is a private company then of course those figures are private.
                    Some figures can be guessed @ such as the spectator gate receipts. I saw figure of appox. 13,300. Of course some of those are of course freebies[Nike employees, family, Pre family and many others]. So say $275,000 from ticket sales. That amount is probably eaten up just by room and board and transportation for the athelets. That doesn't count appearance money,bonuses etc.. I know that Nike also has clauses in it's contracts that they pick some meets[number varies] that they want atheletes to compete in. I'm sure this is one as Adidas Classic last week was. Was for their atheletes.
                    "if you can talk within 1 minute of finishing a distance race without gasping for air you didn't run your best"
                    That's what you should be and your teamates are thinking!

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                    • #11
                      A related question that could be in the public domain is how much are the athletes paid by the shoe companies and other sponsors? As far as I know, most of these companies issue stocks that are publicly traded.

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                      • #12
                        sHOES

                        Originally posted by bad hammy
                        A related question that could be in the public domain is how much are the athletes paid by the shoe companies and other sponsors? As far as I know, most of these companies issue stocks that are publicly traded.
                        On the athletes possibly not. Companies have contracts with the atheletes and those depending on how they are written can be private.
                        "if you can talk within 1 minute of finishing a distance race without gasping for air you didn't run your best"
                        That's what you should be and your teamates are thinking!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          gh--a private matter

                          "The answer to all your questions is the same: none of your business. Or anybody else's. This is private enterprise here, using no public funds. In this country, people are free to run their businesses as they please last time I looked."

                          Gary, your response might explain why fewer talented youth are not attracted to Track in this country. The business of all other professional sports is public domain, for all intents and purposes. I think the sport has enough problems maintaining its fan base, attracting new fans and competitors without being secretive about its economics. Increase payments to the athletes , promote the sport more aggressively, and it will revive. Why would anyone seek a career in track when earnings potential is a secret? Team sports certainly attract huge revenues from fans and sponsors and ancillary sales, such as merchandise, but so do golf, tennis, auto racing, which are not team sports. What can be done to induce sponsors to reach out to track audiences and put up some serious money to attract more athletes to Track. Why aren't the audiences larger? Are horse racing and Track the only "dying" sports in America?

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                          • #14
                            TrackCEO posed a number of $ questions we are all curious about, some of which perhaps are none of our business.

                            However, out of not-so-idle curiosity, I would be interested in hearing from other officials what, if any compensation, they receive for conducting meets.

                            I know referees, starters and clerks are sometimes (usually?) compensated and have expenses paid but what about the grunts on the field?

                            I work 20 to 30 meets a year, including most national championships (NCAA, USATF) and many big meets (Relays and Conference CH), usually as a head official. In the last couple of years, high schools and small colleges in my state have started paying $25 to $50 for eight or ten hours of fun-in-the-sun for District or Conference meets, which helps pay for gasoline and is appreciated. We get a sandwich or pizza at the track (if we have time) and overnight accomodations are usually not required. And, thats OK. I obviously am not in it for the money.... giving back and all that...

                            I understand that the sheer number of officials required to conduct a meet competently, the miniscule entry fees and little or no gate receipts make it impossible to pay track officials comparabe to football or basketball officials.

                            However, for the BIG meets, which do have some revenue, apparently the honor of being chosen is payment enough.

                            Again, conditions have improved in the past few years. Sometimes we are accomodated in empty dormitories for a token rate and a few schools have even started furnishing motel rooms for multi-day meets (sometimes). For too many meets though, it is still every man for himself. Working a three or four day meet on either coast costs me $600 to $800 and that is going Motel 6 and McDonalds. Last year my accountant handled this on a Schedule C, calculating expenses of more than $6000 against income of $225...

                            I know, I know,....no one is holding a gun to my head,. Aside from the fact that I must enjoy doing it and the horde of like-minded friends I have made all over the country there is another reason. There are lots of good officials and I am not so conceited as to think I am the only one who can do it right but I have also witnessed a lot of bad officiating, sometimes when least expected, and I have this nagging concern that someone needs to be there to insure a level playing field for all athletes.

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                            • #15
                              "Tom Jordan Inc." is Northwest Event Management Inc., whose Web site is on a permanent back burner at:
                              http://www.nwevent.com/index.php

                              Tom runs the show along with Barbara Kousky, a former chair of the USATF Masters T&F Committee. Barbara's hubby is a masters racewalker (who gets DQ'd in half his races.)

                              I have very little faith that the ERG -- despite its history of investigative journalism -- will look into the economics of pro track. Tom Jordan is a sacred cow in Lane County. It may take a couple of enterprising reporters (such as the two gals who wrote "Swoosh," the history of Nike, or two guys from S.F. who looked into Steroid Barry) to reveal the truth about pro track -- who makes the money and why.

                              My strong suspicion is this: The powers that be want to keep finances confidential so that athletes don't learn the inequities involved. Meet promoters and sponsors are probably making a lot more money than athletes, and only a few dozen athletes can call pro track a career.

                              I've been in the journalism biz for more than 30 years. Secrecy has always been a red flag that somebody has something to hide.

                              K E N
                              K E N

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