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  • Coe: 12-Meet Diamond League, Central Contracts for Athletes

    Front-page has an article on the proposition, Guardianexpands:

    Under the central contracts plan, up to 10 of the world's biggest names of track and field will be asked to commit to appearing in at least six of the 12 events: eight in Europe, with two each in Asia and the United States. England is expected to host two of the meetings, one in London and the other in Birmingham, though the list of venues is on the agenda for tomorrow.
    "The big attraction, and it was the real talking point last year, is head-to-head challenges. If tennis can have Federer and Nadal going up against each other several times a year, we need to have Usain Bolt running against Asafa Powell more than twice a year. We need a coherent narrative through the season."

    This "narrative" is one of three main objectives for the league: to make athletics more spectator-friendly, which in turn will also appeal to sponsors and broadcasters; to create a truly global sport, albeit with the bulk of its meets still taking place in Europe; and thirdly, to bring unity to the sport so administrators, promoters, athletes and sponsors are working together.
    Those waiting for more head-to-heads may have your wish granted. Objectives are clear-cut and spot-on. Are you excited by this proposition?

  • #2
    Anything that coherently organizes the elites into a position where they can help themselves AND the sport can only help. Right now we are in well-intentioned chaos with no overall motivation for athletes to do anything except run for themselves. In golf Tiger agrees to support the PGA tour with mutual benefit. Same for the top tennis stars. Track? Not so much.

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    • #3
      Unfortunately for a dying audience in the USA, there is no guarantee the top stars will want to put in the air miles to compete in two meets, and may opt to stay in EU.

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      • #4
        Please don't hold one of the events in Birmingham - there's no seating on the backstraight! I prefer the stadium in Sheffield and the Gateshead meet is normally well attended.

        Where will the two Asian meets be held? Shanghai and Doha, I'd imagine although Daegu is probably a better choice.
        http://twitter.com/Trackside2011

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Marlow
          Anything that coherently organizes the elites into a position where they can help themselves AND the sport can only help. Right now we are in well-intentioned chaos with no overall motivation for athletes to do anything except run for themselves. In golf Tiger agrees to support the PGA tour with mutual benefit. Same for the top tennis stars. Track? Not so much.
          I don't think the analogy with golf and tennis are very relevant. Track has this thing called World Records. Someone can make big money just going after one of these things, even if they are the only ones racing.

          Golf just doesn't have that. Watching one guy play golf by himself isn't very exciting, even if it is Tiger Woods. So it isn't so much Woods agrees to play on the Tour, it just is that he doesn't have much choice, other than to play as few tournaments as possible. Which is what he does.

          PS. I think it is a bit cheeky of Coe to babble about competition is the thing, when he spent most of his career avoiding Ovett like the plague.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Conor Dary

            PS. I think it is a bit cheeky of Coe to babble about competition is the thing, when he spent most of his career avoiding Ovett like the plague.
            Think of it this way: Coe is saying that the system in place in his day and at the present gives the athletes individually incentive NOT to meet head to head. In many cases, is rational for them to avoid each other, even though it is bad for the sport as a whole. He is trying to change the system of incentives, so that it is in their self-interest to meet more often head to head.

            That's a good and reasonable goal. Whether or not this specific proposal would accomplish that, I'm not sure.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DecFan
              Originally posted by Conor Dary

              PS. I think it is a bit cheeky of Coe to babble about competition is the thing, when he spent most of his career avoiding Ovett like the plague.
              Think of it this way: Coe is saying that the system in place in his day and at the present gives the athletes individually incentive NOT to meet head to head. In many cases, is rational for them to avoid each other, even though it is bad for the sport as a whole. He is trying to change the system of incentives, so that it is in their self-interest to meet more often head to head.

              That's a good and reasonable goal. Whether or not this specific proposal would accomplish that, I'm not sure.
              As I said before this analogy with golf and tennis is silly. Both sports have the equivalent of the Olympics 4 times a year: The Majors in golf and the Grand Slam events in tennis.
              When Nadal and Federer meet in a Grand Slam final it means something. If they meet in some secondary meet? Only if they both really are ready.

              So they have to show 6 out of 12. That means they don't have to run in 6 of the meets.

              I suppose you can't fault Coe for trying something new. But the problem with UK athletics is they have one true star and she only runs once or twice a year.

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              • #8
                One crucial part of the mix regards head-to-heads of the Coe/Ovett magnitude that always gets ignored: who can/will pay for such things?

                Even mighty Zürich is displaying financial woes at this point.

                If Coe & Ovett (using the historical example so we don't get bogged down on a pissing match regards relative value of current people) are each used to getting $100,000 per meet, what meet can/will cough up $200,000 of its budget for them to go head-to-head, when for the same amount of money they could have one of them and buy four other $25K performers? The supply/demand curve here is tricky.

                It's not impossible to envision a 12-meet series with a half-dozen Coe meets and a half-dozen Ovetts.

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                • #9
                  Line-up now out:

                  Aviva London Grand Prix
                  Aviva British Grand Prix
                  Athletissima Lausanne
                  Bislett Games Oslo
                  DN Galan Stockholm
                  Herculis Monaco
                  Meeting Areva Paris St-Denis
                  Memorial Van Damme Brussels
                  Prefontaine Classic Eugene
                  Reebok Grand Prix New York
                  China Golden Grand Prix
                  Weltklasse Zurich
                  DKB ISTAF Berlin *
                  Golden Gala Rome *
                  Qatar Athletics Super Grand Prix in Doha *
                  other excerpts:
                  Disciplines‘ Structure and Timetable
                  32 disciplines total, 16 per meeting (2 meetings share all 32 disciplines; rotation principle, privileging national stars, e.g. JT men in Oslo as long as Thorkildsen throws)

                  Each meeting has to produce a 2 hours live HD TV feed

                  Prize Money & Athletes‘ Engagement
                  All 32 disciplines have the same prize money with a total of 26‘000 USD x 16 = 416‘000 USD per meeting
                  PlacePrize Money1. →8‘000 USD
                  2. →6‘000 USD
                  3. →4‘000 USD
                  4. →3‘000 USD
                  5. →2‘000 USD
                  6. →1‘500 USD
                  7. →1‘000 USD
                  8. →500 USD

                  The IAAF Diamond Race
                  Each of the 32 disciplines takes place 7-8 times; the top 3 of each discipline are being awarded the same amount of points at each meeting, except for the final (scores 2 x)

                  The AVIVA London Grand Prix runs all 32 disciplines on two days (= 1 meeting)
                  The athlete with the most points in each discipline at the end of the last meeting of the series wins „The Diamond Race“; Each Diamond Race Winner is being awarded a 4 carat diamond (worth around 80‘000 USD)

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                  • #10
                    On the surface I don't see anything not to like. It looks like good money for field eventers and a handful of other events. It does reiterate however that the "real" money is still in the appearance fees. I would love to see the continuation of the Merritt versus Wariner rivalry. For me that was the highlight of last year. Issy's world records and Bolt's absolute dominance (and world records) were great, but two guys willing to go head to head multiple times and running at an extremely high level is what I absolutely love to see.

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                    • #11
                      I'm not sure whether I like it or not. At first glance, it is promising and has some innovations, will the athletes accept it though ? If they don't and disregard the diamond league by treating the series like a loose amount of meetings, it could be much ado about nothing.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nevetsllim
                        Please don't hold one of the events in Birmingham - there's no seating on the backstraight! I prefer the stadium in Sheffield and the Gateshead meet is normally well attended.
                        The British Grand Prix is the one that usually alternates between Gateshead and Sheffield. The Birmingham meet is usually a 4/5-way international format meeting and I'm pretty sure it won't be part of the Diamond League.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Conor Dary
                          ......
                          PS. I think it is a bit cheeky of Coe to babble about competition is the thing, when he spent most of his career avoiding Ovett like the plague.
                          "Coe Preaches What He Failed To Practice....." see story now posted on front page.

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