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2-site Regionals: Not so bad [same format for 2011!]

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  • 2-site Regionals: Not so bad [same format for 2011!]

    I have to say, I think I disagree with Garry & Co. on the 2-site regionals (see "We Think," p.49 of June issue). I rather enjoyed it tonight. Most of the events had 3-section quarterfinals with only the top three as automatic qualifiers for Eugene, and several of the races had some real drama as athletes fought for that 3rd spot. I liked it, and so did a few serious track geeks sitting with me.

    That said, maybe I'm just not typical. T&FN's prediction that the fans would "stay away from Greensboro and Austin in droves" definitely came true, at least here in Austin. The stands were pretty empty, and I suspect they will be tomorrow (in fact, I won't be there because of another commitment). However, before we chalk that up to the competition being "a pointless bore," I would offer some other theories:

    1. The event didn't seem particularly well-promoted. The local daily paper had an advance story, but I didn't see much else in the way of selling it to potential fans.
    2. I really, really hate to say this, but maybe Austin just isn't a good town for this type of meet. Yes, we get 13K to 15K for the Saturday session of the Texas Relays, and about 17K for the Saturday session of the Texas high school championships, but both are driven heavily by people coming into town to watch their kids or classmates compete. But for a more general event that relies on actual Austinites to show up? Look there are about a bazillion different entertainment options here, and a track & field meet is gonna have a lot of competition for people's time and wallets. Our official city motto is "Live Music Capital of the World," and we have fantastic restaurant and film scenes as well, a lake nearby, and some kind of festival just about every weekend. Perhaps a less bustling college town like Fayetteville or College Station would draw better crowds? To back up this point: T&FN said dual/scored meets would be GREAT for college t&f. Well, the ones at College Station's indoor facility were pretty well-attended; but the Arkansas/Texas dual here in Austin drew literally 55 people — I hand-counted them myself.

    Oh, and a bit of advice for the NCAA or UTexas (whichever is in charge of ticket sales): The laws of supply and demand make charging $10 admission a bad idea. As I said, there's a lot of competition here for the entertainment dollar, and as we all have noticed in recent years, people aren't busting down the doors to get into track meets. I don't know that it would raise the attendance all that much, but this event should have been free.
    "Run fast and keep turning left."

  • #2
    Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

    Ken Goe reported 1,092 on Thursday and 1,352 yesterday. Compared to conference meets, that's decent. Which tells you a lot about college track.

    I went to the first Mideast regional back in 2003, held at Ohio State. OSU did not lift a finger to promote the meet so of course the attendance was poor.

    My ongoing research of domestic meet attendance has so far found that it's very good for pro meets, high school meets and the various relay carnivals, but for college meets it's abysmal. See this:
    http://hepstrack.com/2010/05/25/heps-na ... n-the-u-s/

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    • #3
      Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

      But, conference meets are scored...the fact that the Heps are so much better attended than the other conferences probably has a lot to do with other factors than the regional/NCAA format (Consider that the Yale Bowl is a huge stadium, but only fills for football once every two years). That said, it's very strange to read that the conference with a collective enrollment of about 50,000 students draws more fans to a conference meet than the conferences where one school has that many (Big 10).

      Also, I have to imagine that the Heps sends fewer athletes to the regionals (and ultimately to the NCAA's) than the other conferences. So why are some so sold on this regional format? The Ivies have proven that the lure of the NCAA's is NOT the key ingredient to higher attendance. And, though they do have dual/tri meets, a quick look at the schedules of a few suggests that they compete MORE against their REGIONAL rivals at home meets, not their conference rivals. And, one more thing...they attend the Stanford distance races, the relay carnivals AND out of conference meets!

      Columbia's outdoor schedule below:
      -Fri, Mar 26 - Sat, Mar 27 Stanford Invitational at Stanford, Calif. All Day
      -Fri, Apr 02 Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton, N.J. All Day
      -Sat, Apr 03 Quaker Invitational at Philadelphia, Pa. All Day
      -Sat, Apr 10 George Mason Invitational at Fairfax, Va. All Day
      -Fri, Apr 16 - Sat, Apr 17 Mt. SAC Relays at Walnut, Calif. All Day
      -Fri, Apr 16 - Sat, Apr 17 Auburn Invitational at Auburn, Ala. All Day
      -Thu, Apr 22 - Sun, Apr 25 Penn Relays at Philadelphia, Pa. All Day
      -Sat, May 01 - Sun, May 02 Princeton Elite Meet at Princeton, N.J. All Day
      -Sat, May 01 - Sun, May 02 Stanford Invitational at Palo Alto, Calif. All Day
      -Sat, May 08 - Sun, May 09 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships * at Princeton, N.J. All Day

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      • #4
        Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

        Originally posted by trackstar
        I have to say, I think I disagree with Garry & Co. on the 2-site regionals (see "We Think," p.49 of June issue)......
        Important note! I made this post two days ago:

        <<Not sure why I've done a 180 (and maybe after I see the meet results I'll regret having said this), but I've decided that if you're a hardcore fan, actually sitting at the meet, the Regionals might actually be worth watching.

        There aren't many people who do it, but I've always enjoyed the field-event qualifying rounds at the NCAA (or the OG/WC, wherever), but so doing requires either your charting the event or having a scoreboard that does it for you. Even if you have no vested interest in any of the performers, it's great to see who's "on the bubble" and chart the movement of the bubble, with people getting bounced. (Same with track races that have time-qualifiers)

        With a Nationals berth on the line, I'd find watching that quite satisfying actually. Having said that, I doubt I'd appreciate the amount of time it will actually take to get the process done in these Regionals.>>

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        • #5
          Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

          With the 2010 collegiete season now complete what happens in 2011? 2-site regionals or back to a descending performance list? If they go to the old system will the meet move up a weekend?

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          • #6
            Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

            I enjoyed the serendipity of a Saturday wedding that was held in Austin (one of ten nephews) that enabled me to see the Friday festivities. The timing was such that I could not get in the Saturday's events, however.

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            • #7
              Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

              Originally posted by harvtrack
              With the 2010 collegiete season now complete what happens in 2011? 2-site regionals or back to a descending performance list? If they go to the old system will the meet move up a weekend?
              I have a feeling that we will have regionals of one kind or another for much longer than most people think. Even if the coaches agree 100% on one specific non-regionals plan, the NCAA still has its say. It looks to me like Indy wants a "playoff" atmosphere in every sport (save football, but that's another matter). How we best make that happen in track is difficult to say the least, especially if by "best" you mean something that might create interest and be compelling to watch. I have ideas, but they would likely be considered radical. I am of the mind, though, that college track desperately needs radical change.

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              • #8
                Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

                I've heard a lot of rumbling about next year being back to lists (and maybe the move to a week earlier starting then, although I suspect stadium/housing-availability issues might come into play on that score).

                One thing the NCAA management will understand is cost management, and when all the figures are in for staging the Regionals—not to mention finding out that nobody is leaping up to volunteer to host next year's extravaganza—they'll go with the flow.

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                • #9
                  Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

                  Latest buzz I'm hearing is that next year the Nationals fields will be 32 (up from 24), with the entries being the top 24 on the yearly list plus the next 8 best Conference champions.

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                  • #10
                    Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

                    Originally posted by gh
                    Latest buzz I'm hearing is that next year the Nationals fields will be 32 (up from 24), with the entries being the top 24 on the yearly list plus the next 8 best Conference champions.
                    "Say it ain't so, Joe, say it ain't so".

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

                      If for no other reason, I can go with that proposed setup because it would take us back to 3 rounds in the lane races (32-16-8) instead of that horrid 3 semis pick 2+2.

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                      • #12
                        Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

                        Please tell me that fields of 32 would mean prelims for the vertical jumps? :shock:

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                        • #13
                          Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

                          Hey, they didn't have it for fields of 48. If you want things to make sense, you're both asking the wrong organization and in the wrong sport. Q-rounds would make for more compact and entertaining finals...which is yet another reason why I'm afraid they won't be used.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

                            We saw how cumbersome and time consuming fields of even 24 can be.. Please, no more.

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                            • #15
                              Re: 2-site Regionals: Not so bad

                              Originally posted by Mighty Favog
                              Hey, they didn't have it for fields of 48. If you want things to make sense, you're both asking the wrong organization and in the wrong sport. Q-rounds would make for more compact and entertaining finals...which is yet another reason why I'm afraid they won't be used.
                              The fields of 48 were the Q round, and it's my understanding they used two pits.

                              They always had prelims in the HJ and PV in recent years, this is the first year they got away from that in a long time.

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