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  • Are the superstars worth the money?

    In last week's eTrack Newsletter, our man on the ground in Paris wrote, <<...The fiscal realities of bringing Bolt to town also has its downside. The Paris meet—now sponsored (powered?) by nuclear energy conglomerate Areva—featured some of the thinnest fields in recent memory, ...>>

    Today I got a note from a friend in England bemoaning how horridly thin London was, and wondering if too much of the meet hadn't been mortgaged to bring in both Bolt and Gay.

    Clearly, Bolt gives you guaranteed media blitzing, but how much does he give you in the long run?

    That's very much a rhetorical question, and one to which I don't have the glimmer of an answer, but obviously there's a supply/demand curve involved in there somewhere.

    Of course, those who would find either Paris or London "thin" would tend to be hard-core fans of discerning taste, who understand/appreciate all the events, and who all the players are top to bottom.

    Is John Q. Public happy enough just to have had Bolt work his magic?

  • #2
    I'm not much of a sprinting fan so I wouldn't be too fussed if CP didn't have Gay, Bolt etc or not but I guess it's all swings and roundabouts and without Bolt, the atmosphere and attendance probably wouldn't have been as great but some of the fields were very thin on the ground. However, I guess some of the weaker fields were competitive and gave us good races (w1500, w3000SC etc).
    http://twitter.com/Trackside2011

    Comment


    • #3
      Meet Directors' primary job is to turn a buck (or a Franc or a Pound . . . Euro). To do that they have to 'put on a show' - the show just happens to be a track meet. So the question is: what will make the most money (tickets, TV feed, paraphenalia, etc.)? The answer is almost always: Star Power. Everyone knows Bolt now. If you don't have Bolt, obviously (in the minds of the public), this is not a BIG Meet. Real track fans are fine without Bolt, as long as they get other good match-ups. Unfortunately there aren't enough REAL track fans to make a profit without getting names that second-tier fans will know: Isi, Gay, Asafa, Bekele, Robles, etc. The smaller Euro circuit meets must rely on interweaving some national events into the program to sell it.

      As a REAL fan (and most of us here are), I'm OK with any meet that has world-rankers in it, but even we want the Big Names too. You know who does a great job at this? The Pre meet! That is the model for USA meets and others should take heed too.

      In this economy it's hard to have your cake and eat it too. You can get Bolt and fewer marquee events, or eschew the Bolts, and get deeper fields in a good number of events. To do both, you'll need to be based in Zurich (and even it has seen better days).

      Comment


      • #4
        London was not thin! OK there were one or two events were set up for home wins, nut the international fields were good, especially in the field. The problem with London is it is packaged hideously. Early evening then mid afternoon! Incoherent mix of world class and semi national class races. Far too many events. The meeting really needs rethinking!

        Comment


        • #5
          This is an interesting and tough objective to meet. Reflecting back, what did you see and hear when you clicked on the Paris website? I saw Mr. Bolt and heard a Reggae Festival blaring through me speakers. No matter what Mr. Bolt ran that day, I'll remember the meet as the Bolt Block Party, and so will many regular guys like me.
          Fire Impossible.

          Comment


          • #6
            400 men was bad to see neither merritt or wariner.

            The rest was good, no need to spread it over 2 days though.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Marlow
              Meet Directors' primary job is to turn a buck (or a Franc or a Pound . . . Euro). To do that they have to 'put on a show' - the show just happens to be a track meet. So the question is: what will make the most money (tickets, TV feed, paraphenalia, etc.)? The answer is almost always: Star Power. Everyone knows Bolt now. If you don't have Bolt, obviously (in the minds of the public), this is not a BIG Meet. Real track fans are fine without Bolt, as long as they get other good match-ups. Unfortunately there aren't enough REAL track fans to make a profit without getting names that second-tier fans will know: Isi, Gay, Asafa, Bekele, Robles, etc. The smaller Euro circuit meets must rely on interweaving some national events into the program to sell it.

              As a REAL fan (and most of us here are), I'm OK with any meet that has world-rankers in it, but even we want the Big Names too. You know who does a great job at this? The Pre meet! That is the model for USA meets and others should take heed too.

              In this economy it's hard to have your cake and eat it too. You can get Bolt and fewer marquee events, or eschew the Bolts, and get deeper fields in a good number of events. To do both, you'll need to be based in Zurich (and even it has seen better days).
              It is easy to say meets should be run like the Pre when the meet is able to get the fields it does because the meet is run by/sponsored by Nike and most of their runners are essentially forced to run in it with very limited chances to opt out.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mikewats
                400 men was bad to see neither merritt or wariner.

                The rest was good, no need to spread it over 2 days though.
                I know what you mean. I'm sure if the meet was condensed into one day, the fields would be stronger (although I do remember seeing some ropey fields during the one-day meet) but from a selfish perspective, I prefer the two-day format. I don't live near London so I find it easier to justify going to the meet if it's two-days, rather than going to a one-day meet, which is as long as one leg of my train journey.
                http://twitter.com/Trackside2011

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Are the superstars worth the money?

                  Originally posted by gh
                  In last week's eTrack Newsletter, our man on the ground in Paris wrote, <<...The fiscal realities of bringing Bolt to town also has its downside. The Paris meet—now sponsored (powered?) by nuclear energy conglomerate Areva—featured some of the thinnest fields in recent memory, ...>>

                  Today I got a note from a friend in England bemoaning how horridly thin London was, and wondering if too much of the meet hadn't been mortgaged to bring in both Bolt and Gay.

                  Clearly, Bolt gives you guaranteed media blitzing, but how much does he give you in the long run?

                  That's very much a rhetorical question, and one to which I don't have the glimmer of an answer, but obviously there's a supply/demand curve involved in there somewhere.

                  Of course, those who would find either Paris or London "thin" would tend to be hard-core fans of discerning taste, who understand/appreciate all the events, and who all the players are top to bottom.

                  Is John Q. Public happy enough just to have had Bolt work his magic?
                  I'm one of those hard-core fans who thought London was a bit thin. I'd probably have preferred stronger fields, rather than Bolt and Gay, especially since they weren't racing each other. But as we all know, there aren't enough of us hard cores around to make meet directors think about us at all. Those guys have to look at the numbers, and in London the numbers spoke for themselves. They sold the place out both days. Would they have done that without Bolt and Gay? Probably not. End of story.

                  You may have a point about the long run, but I think if Joe Public enjoyed the meet, either live or on tv, that's probably good for the sport and for the meet in the long run. If we can't get the right numbers in the short run, there may be no long run.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    there are a number of points here

                    firstly because of UKA commitments to BBC it has to be a 2 day meeting.

                    2nd some of the fields are soooooooooooo unbelievably thin it was embarrasing what is the point of having Turinesh with absolutely no competition and practically no pacemakers he may a well turn up wave to the crown because nobody was watching the race (if you could call it that) the women 800 was practically a domestic race, yes we have decent 800m runners but the field wouldn't hold up anywhere else.

                    the mens 400 was rubbish
                    800 appalling
                    mile was weak
                    5000 was pathetic
                    womens 1500 was ok
                    steeplechase made no sense at all
                    even with TBO the 400 was crap
                    the javelin !!!
                    HJ blanka and nobody

                    which seemes to be the order of the day for a lot of events, get a big name and surround then with mediocrity, announce amazing competition ( as katherinf merry had the nerve to announce before the wJT) and hope nobody notice.

                    there i also an alarming tendancy to stack the field in the favour of UK athletes raise the public expectations and then complain when they go out in the 2nd round at the champs

                    i don't remember seeing this in any other country

                    i'm not the biggest sprint fan but at this meet would have been unbearable haing usain et al at the meet was amaaaaaaazing, it was packed, loads of people who would never come to a track meet attended, they went mad everytime usain moved i'e never seen anything like it.

                    it would have been a great opportunity to introduce people to track and as i said there were moments of brilliabce but there were way to many moments of absolutely nothgin happening or stuff so boring that i was reading a paper

                    there has to be a better way to put together this meet
                    i deserve extra credit

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I find the treatment of field events at Crystal Palace really annoying because the wLJ and mSP were probably the two best fields but the announcers only draw the attention to the marks after they have happened, which I find rather annoying. I didn't catch any of Naide Gomes's last three jumps because the scoreboard was busy replaying something of little interest and I had no idea that the men's shot put produced some great last round efforts. Couldn't they just stop everything else and put all the focus on the last round of the field events because the standard deserves it.

                      Overall I really enjoyed the meet, particularly the first day (the second day was somewhat bleh although I actually enjoyed the women's 'chase and 5000m) but I get irritated that there's so much emphasis on the sprints and rather third-rate middle and long distance events :? And why can't they employ decent pacemakers, particularly because quite a lot of athletes (Clitheroe in the 'chase, for example) were chasing qualifying times.
                      http://twitter.com/Trackside2011

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I read on Brianna Glenn's website that she lost out on $10,000.00 Did the winner of each event get that much?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mojo
                          I read on Brianna Glenn's website that she lost out on $10,000.00 Did the winner of each event get that much?
                          I think so, yes.
                          http://twitter.com/Trackside2011

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mojo
                            I read on Brianna Glenn's website that she lost out on $10,000.00 Did the winner of each event get that much?
                            She really thought she had a serious chance of actually winning????? :roll:
                            With this level of competition, she ought to be happy with 3rd or 4th place for now. When she starts jumping 7m, it will be a different story.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mump boy
                              there are a number of points here

                              firstly because of UKA commitments to BBC it has to be a 2 day meeting.

                              2nd some of the fields are soooooooooooo unbelievably thin it was embarrasing what is the point of having Turinesh with absolutely no competition and practically no pacemakers he may a well turn up wave to the crown because nobody was watching the race (if you could call it that) the women 800 was practically a domestic race, yes we have decent 800m runners but the field wouldn't hold up anywhere else.

                              the mens 400 was rubbish
                              800 appalling
                              mile was weak
                              5000 was pathetic
                              womens 1500 was ok
                              steeplechase made no sense at all
                              even with TBO the 400 was crap
                              the javelin !!!
                              HJ blanka and nobody

                              which seemes to be the order of the day for a lot of events, get a big name and surround then with mediocrity, announce amazing competition ( as katherinf merry had the nerve to announce before the wJT) and hope nobody notice.

                              there i also an alarming tendancy to stack the field in the favour of UK athletes raise the public expectations and then complain when they go out in the 2nd round at the champs

                              i don't remember seeing this in any other country

                              i'm not the biggest sprint fan but at this meet would have been unbearable haing usain et al at the meet was amaaaaaaazing, it was packed, loads of people who would never come to a track meet attended, they went mad everytime usain moved i'e never seen anything like it.

                              it would have been a great opportunity to introduce people to track and as i said there were moments of brilliabce but there were way to many moments of absolutely nothgin happening or stuff so boring that i was reading a paper

                              there has to be a better way to put together this meet
                              I think you're missing something here. First, you complain that they "stack the field in favour of UK athletes." All of the big European meets do this. Casual fans like to be able to cheer for someone from their own country. Putting the best athletes from the host country into the meet is good for the athletes, giving them chances they might not otherwise have to face top-level competition, and it's good for the spectators--it enhances their interest in events they might not otherwise care about.

                              A perfect example of where I disagree with you is the men's 400, which you called rubbish. OK, neither Wariner nor Merritt were in the race. But what could have better suited to "introduce people to track" than having a good race won by a Brit?

                              And then there was Dibaba, a great champion running a WL, which surely gave Joe and Jane Public some enjoyment. Given that the Kenyan trials were the same weekend, I'm not sure what they could have done to make the race much more competitive, but even if they had, would it have mattered to the average fan? I doubt it.

                              As I said in an earlier post, mump, I'm with you. I'm about as hard core as you can get, and I had the same reaction as you did to a lot of what I saw Friday and Saturday (on the webcast). But I'm not the meet organizer, and if I were, and I were runnning a business as the Fast Track folks do, I'd probably have made many of the same decisions they did.

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