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Track in the US


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  • Track in the US

    What is wrong with track in america? People will pay $60 to see a baseball game that drags on for 2 hours and then drink 5-10 beers to drown the boredom. My god - people will watch GOLF for hours!, but track somehow is not interesting enough. People will only watch track to see world records or olympic golds and both have to be produced by an american or they don't care. Sad when there are so many great and exciting track races.

    In the US the most popular sports are NASCAR, Baseball, Football, basketball, golf. No one else in the world cares about 1950s automotive technology spinning in circles around a track so we are the best. No other country even plays Football so we are the "World Champions". Baseball is basically US and Canada so not a lot of foreign competition there. NBA? same. Golf - I don't know about foreigners, but I know when I am ready for a nap I turn on the golf channel and I am lulled to sleep in a matter of minutes.

    Baseball and Football are rampant with steroids and the governing bodies do nothing about it. There is no need for performance enhancement in golf. Have you seen the guts on those guys? Clearly it is not an athletic event.

    I used to think that since so many people run recreationally (millions), there should be a huge market for marathons and track meets on TV. But yesterday I asked some friends who run to go to the Home Depot meet with me. One said "Track just isn't that exciting and it is't worth $17."

    I know I am in the minority, but I would rather watch a close meet between 2 good high school track teams than sit through 9 innings of baseball or 18 holes of golf. And I wouldn't need 5-10 beers to keep myself occupied.
    In the sun with a popsicle, everthing is possible

  • #2
    Re: Track in the US

    >No other country even plays Football so we are the "World Champions".


    Weekend American Football league results in Sweden:

    Vienna Carlstad 42-0

    Arlanda Tyresö 22-21; Solna Jamtland 32-6; Örebro Sundsvall 39-25

    Div I
    Eskilstuna KTH 8-70; Gefle Västerås 36-13; Carlstad B Skövde 14-40; Jönköping Kristianstad 20-6; Arlanda B Uppsala 8-45
    Roslagen Tyresö B 0-19; Göteborg G Göteborg M 34-46; Halmstad Limhamn 6-48; Ystad Lugi 22-18

    Tyresö Arlanda 81-0; Täby Solna 8-48; Göteborg Skövde 104-0!!!; Ekeby Halmstad 63-15; Limhamn Lund 46-0; Stockholm Roslagen 78-24; Eskilstuna Uppsala 56-6; Örebro Gefle 34-0; Carlshamn Carlscrona 56-2; Ystad Kristanstad flyttad


    • #3
      Re: Track in the US

      I have been told by non-believers and heretics that the problem is non-continuity. In most 'popular' sports, there is a beginning and end which involves the 'team', but track's 24 (at Oly level - 17 at HS) different events entail differing groups of people NOT striving towards a common goal. I try to explain that track is one of the few 'pure' sports, but they want league standings and playoffs and points (runs, goals, etc.) scored. It takes a special breed to appreciate the nuances of T&F, and we are the only ones who 'get' it. That said, I really do think that USATF could do a MUCH better job of hyping our sport - we (well, not ME exactly) really are the strongest, fastest, greatest stamina, most highly skilled (PV) athletes on the planet. Sigh.


      • #4
        Re: Track in the US

        >Baseball is basically US and Canada so not a lot of foreign competition there.

        Maybe, but I sure like our Swedish sports coverage: Headlines are headlines, and our reporters are good for following and covering great stories: ... 94,00.html


        • #5
          Re: Track in the US

          Epelle - I'm not sure if you are disputing me or sarcastically making the same point. With americans footballs scores of 81+ I can assume that they are not exactly NFL material. I'll just say that in the rest of the world, football and baseball are not pursued as professional sports, if at all.

          Tafnut - agreed, sigh.

          Maybe if they made track meets one continuous relay of all the events. Then competitors could do a dance and sing afterwards and three judges could evaluate their performance. Then if they were not good, Donald Trump could fire them...
          In the sun with a popsicle, everthing is possible


          • #6
            Re: Track in the US

            OK let me commit heresy here:

            Maybe Track & Field, is not a good product to most people, compared to other sports. Sure, we all love it, but who are we ? A very small minority. All those others think a 3 hour baseball game is more entertaining than a 3 hour track meet.

            Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

            There probably are people that love to eat live worms... and if they love them, so be it. But most of us do not.

            Maybe we just have to accept that our product.... Track & Field is not, to the general public, the fantastic, wonderful, cannot-be-beaten thing that we know it is... through our eyes. And everyone's daughter is pretty, and OJ's mother knows her son is innocent.

            But its not our eyes we're talking about.


            • #7
              Re: Track in the US

              I think too much emphasis is placed on individual professional sports. Here, teamwork is set higher than individual performances. We have our great individuals, but teamwork always comes first. Forsberg, for example, played his final (of all time?) match this season as an Avalanche, then flew directly to help his national team win bronze against the Canadians two weeks ago. He was hurt, requires surgery, yet "took one for the team".

              Here, we admire those who compete and try; we have a sense of teamwork even in our individual sports. Perhaps USA can learn there. There were 27,000 who turned out at our GöteborgsVarvet on Saturday, and during the entire 21,1KM, 90,000 fans lined the streets and cheered every single, solitary competitor through to the finish.

              I don:t know which in the USA would get the greater headlines:

              40-year-old Randy Johnson pitches perfect game or 40-year-old runs sub-4 mile.


              • #8
                Re: Track in the US

                a. my daughter is . . . beautiful, but OJ is guilty.
                b. A 40-year old man has run the mile under 4:00 and it got about the same response as the Big Unit.


                • #9
                  Re: Track in the US

                  few things

                  - part of the appeal of t&f for most competitors and fans is its 'individualness'

                  - baseball is relatively unpopular in the US compared to the rabid following in far east asia and the caribbean

                  - nfl football players may have a gut, especially the linebackers, but they're among the most athletic individuals in the world. check out their vertical leaps and 40yd times (even 6'6" 270 pound guys) before you say its not an athletic sport. besides you should know better, think of all the nfl players that previously excelled in various t&f events

                  - the average t&f meet is too chaotic and has too many competitors to be of interest to more than the hometown fans, or people coming out to support a specific person. the top-tier meets that have been held at reggie lewis in boston the past few years (new balance games was one i attended) have been much easier to take for the average fan, in my opinion.

                  - people can relate to track, everyone's participated in at least one of the events in gym class if not on a team. more people have been on a track team than any other kind of team. i would wager more adults participate in running events such as 5ks than they do any other kind of 'for fun' sport activity. things along these lines are not excuses. i think the only thing we can point to is the lack of good promotion and lack of a good product.


                  • #10
                    Re: Track in the US

                    I have some ideas for track and field, some ideas that I hope can be used to fuel a resurgence of this great sport in America. I will wait as much as five more years to see of New York gets the games, but if they don't I'm going to spill the beans anyway.

                    My ideas have nothing to do with competition, but with making the competition more compelling (mesmerizing might be more like it) to the larger public. In my mind, some of the innovations would be dramatic.

                    Hang with me folks, better times are ahead.


                    • #11
                      Re: Track in the US

                      Here is a suggestion: Keep the big guns from showing off too much. Your audiences in the USA may appreciate Mo Greene sticking out his tongue and lashing it from side-to-side like a man possessed when he warms up and strides out. Henrik "Henke" Larsson, our STAR football (soccer) player here in Sweden was politely asked not to carry on similar antics by his Celtic audience - and obliged.

                      Sometimes I wish the showboats like the ones in the 100m/4x100m would for one Sunday, play quarterback in the NFL.

                      Imagine #11, quarterback Greene on the field screaming, "red-16, red-16, hut, hut, hike" with his tongue sticking out like a panting dog. Defensive linemen would want nothing more than to sack him, and sack him hard.

                      Or if those athletes could line up at the plate in a major league baseball game. Talk about high and inside: Pedro, The Rocket or Johnson would ride a pitch or two right up in there as to say, "put that tongue back in your mouth, and get that smile off your face!"

                      I don:t know if your American public as a whole appreciates the heavyweight boxing persona displayed by track athletes. Sure, some of the sprint races last as long as a Tyson match, but the two sports, in my opinion, don:t cross over audience lines.


                      • #12
                        Re: Track in the US

                        Two words: Michael Jordan


                        • #13
                          Re: Track in the US

                          >Two words: Michael Jordan

                          Two more: Fan Tastic!

                          And, he was part of the MJ club (Michael Johnson; Michael Jackson; Marion Jones; Mick Jagger; Magic Johnson; you get the point).

                          #23 is synonymous with Michael Jordan. Do track and field athletes have anything of consumer marketing value in the USA?


                          • #14
                            Re: Track in the US

                            I've thought about this question a lot, and my theory is: Americans prefer the unpredictability of ball sports. Especially in football, the ball could bounce any which way. A batter could send it any direction. Balls get dropped. Balls bounce in and out of baskets. Different plays are run. Different offenses match up against different defenses.

                            In track, you're basically watching someone perform the same motion over and over. And every performer is doing it pretty much the same as every other. Some throws go further, some jumps are better, some runs are faster, but it's all essentially the same. Track is about trying to reach predictable perfection. Other sports are all about the unknown.

                            While we obviously have no problem with this predictable perfection and love this sport, I can understand why it turns some people off. That's why I don't spend too much time worrying about trying to keep up with the Joneses in the sports world. I think the market for what we love is inherently limited, and there is only so much we can do to bump up our numbers.
                            "Run fast and keep turning left."


                            • #15
                              Re: Track in the US

                              Lee, I agree with you. I am adding that I believe fans demand perfection from professionals, however love the unpredictability of scholastic and collegiate sports. High schoolers very, very, very rarely reach a level of perfection (run 9,99/19,99/44,99/1.45/3.39/etc.). These athletes compete and bring more joy to parents and their families than perhaps they might as 23-year-olds running under the same barrier ranges.