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Open Mic Night
Why does Track and Field have less spectators?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2000 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I AM DOING A RESEARCH PAPER ON THIS TOPIC AND WONDERS WHY DOES THIS SPORT HAS THE LEAST AMOUNT OF SPECTATORS?

[Anonymously Posted by: 'SUE']
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2000 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless the meet does a great job packaging the events and announcing to the crowd, it's really not a very spectator friendly sport. It's great if you are competing in the meet or watching people you know, but the action is too sporadic and diverse for most casual fans to sit through for hours and not have any clues as to what's going on. No team scores, no timeouts and collective strategies, no fiery emotion, etc.

I love it, though!

Dan
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2001 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my personal opinion is the action is too spread out. Running on the track, jumping off to the side in the pits, throwing all the way across the track( Or 1/2 mile away like some schools) There's too much oing on in too many places to stay interested very long

[Anonymously Posted by: 'Discusman']
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graeme
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2001 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

love watching track meets, even if they aren't professionals... but that's partly because I compete in track and field myself
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quickster57
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2001 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think that the stands are not quite filled because many people don't understand the concept of running. they see people on the track, but have no idea what else is going on. my own parents find it very hard to watch the meets, because they don't understand whats going on. but they are learning.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2001 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's also difficult to convey the meaning behind the action, as there are so many different things going on around the stadium on totally different schedules. Many PA announcers have a hard enough time not talking during the start of races, let alone keeping everyone up to date on the action...

Dan
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mario
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2001 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to understand that there is the sport and the showbusiness. Sometime sports have characteristics that make them a good show.

Most sucessfull showbusiness sports are teamsports, played in a limited field and allowing for 2 to 5 meets/week. The drama is starting at the beginning of a season, with a crescendo to some type of cup or championship.

Track and field (for that matter, road running is worst) are mostly a very diversified crowd of individual. It is tough to divide them in something like "us" again "them". You don't get a simple show of 1 hour or two. The longest events are 5000 m or 10 000 m races. Everything else is a sucession of short events.

Because people try to max out their performance, they follow trainings that lead them to peak fitness. Beside the sprinters (which are the stars of track and field), most of them are limited in how often they could perform. It is very different from a professional team of Hockey or a Tennisman who are performing at least every week-end. It prevent to create a base of non-athlete fan watching them on T.V. every week. Those fan would eventually treat themselfe buying stadium tickets once or two a year, or get from a business contact tickets.

The only way to change it would be to create a format similar to european professionnal biking. Athlete would not achieve world record, but those competing in the circuit would have to go through an event once a week, again each other in a different stadium. Peoples would be part of team competing again each other. At the end of each meet you got a weekly champion, a champion team, followed by a "tour" champion a the end of the season and a team championship.

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Dan
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2001 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How well do you think the team approach would go over in track & field, where you have a lot of very different events? I don't think you could stick with the current pockets of training groups (sprinters in warm weather places and distance runners in the mountains), as a team setup would require team training conditions... And you would certainly need to round out teams across the events, or team competition would be virtually meaningless... Would the athletes, and more importantly the agents, go along with it?

Dan
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mario
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2001 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good points, but:

That is exactly why Track & Field is not very popular, measured on an audience basis and exposure in media, because in its actual form it doesn't fit well needs of showbusiness.

Professionnal sports that are able to attract attention from public and more important paying advertisers are generating much more cash for professionnal athletes than any track&field stars. Rather to cash price money, those athletes live on yearly income from the team and sponsorship of related and nonrelated products. That is probably what sport agent are mostly sensitive, beside other personnal feelings their customers-athletes may have .

Professionnal athlete are not necessarily giving their max on a regular basis. We speak of peoples that are generating regular performances on long periods, from 3 to 6 month a year, maybe maxing -out performances at the end of the season. Public are identifying themselfe to a team not on a national basis but on appartenance to cities or even universities. The players themselfe are not necessarily originating from the represented city, but most often elsewhere, even from foreign countries. Team are exchanging and trading players on a commercial basis. The professional version of the sport is not necessarily a perfect replicate of the international codifed sport (ex.: LNH vers Olympic Hockey). So some event as throwing or jumping might not fit in that model. That sprinter would not be as fast as they could would not be as important that they are faster than their oponent of the visiting team that day. Above all, the value of the individual performance (i.e. for Track & Field faster, farther and higher) would not be importanst as "my favorite team beat your team". It is a sad reality.

Bottom line, I am not a fan of sport as a showbusiness. I like the concept of the athlete training for months, before to show-up for a single events, most of them doing or planning to do something else for a living. It is probably why I run on roads, rather to play on a week-end hockey league
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Dan
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2001 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good analysis, but I just don't see track being well suited to a team sport format. It works reasonably well up through college, but I'm being kind when I say "reasonably"... The best college programs often do not produce the best post-collegiates, our (the US) distance runners pretty much suck on the international scene, and many of the top sprinters don't even go through the NCAA system!

Dan
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mario
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2001 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is another interesting aspect of the question. Some of the sucessfull professional sports in North America are not really much popular outside ex.: Baseball, Football (soccer and rugby are too different to be considered equivalents). Hockey is, but more and more the best talents are European. American are still dominating Basketball, but it will be the only case I could think about professional sports.

Bottom line, as any endeavour, you must know what you are looking for. If you want to produce the best talents that will put you ahead of other nations, your athletes will have to set yearly or at best biyearly goal and train the rest of the time away from public sight. If you want those athlete to generate cash and be TV stars, they would have to maximize exposure, be winning or losing races almost every week-end.

We could here compare Ethiopian and Kenyan runners.

Kenyan are greedy, racing every two weeks and winning regulary prize money in U.S.A and Europe. But while we agree that maybe 9 out of 10 best runners in the world are Kenyan, we saw Ethiopian collect 2 out 3 first ranks in Olympic Marathon. Ethiopian obviously target goals and achieve them. Furthermore, the 2:20 wall for women marathon have been broken first by a Kenyan but by a Japanese runner. Have it broken a week later by a Kenyan female runner shows that it might have been broken before, but desire to preserve strengts to run as much races as possible have made Kenyan to run "conservatively".

Overracing to grab as much money you can and setting PR or WR are just not compatible.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2001 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had a similar discussion going recently about the Kenyans and the lack of their killer instinct when compared to the Ethiopians. Pretty much in agreement with your observations above.

Dan
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2001 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's because we don't MARKET our sport well enough, it's as if runners are afraid of free enterprise and that PROFIT is a bad omen. There are alot of things that could improve track and field, like the announcing, we should build excitement before, during, and post race. We also need to start this at the H.S., Collegiate, and Club level. Go after the spectators professionally, and you will see results, also we need to start fielding solid american runners again, not just in the sprints.
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mario
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2001 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting point, marketing each event (different concept from marketing a league, a sport team or athletes).

Do you think with added marketing the popularity would be similar to professional sports teams or somewhat between the statu quo and that level?

What we do right with sprinters that we don't with middle and long distance runner? Wouldn't that be that the development period between the start of training and the final reward is just too long in long distance running? Could not be because sprinters could perform several time during a season, getting more media attention and therefore more marketing money? As the running distance get longer, it is difficult to repeat often a top performance, is it not part of the problem?

What about T&F side dishes (no offenses intended) : jumpers and throwers, have they any chance to become marketable?

I like that topic, the discussion is really interesting.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2001 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What we do right with sprinters that we don't with middle and long distance runner?

If anything, I think we (the US) are handling sprinters in the wrong way, villifying and disparaging those athletes who are doing well enough internationally and drawing media/sponsorship attention that we should be trying to get the rest of the event areas to rise to their level of accomplishment.

I think we could talk about promotion and marketing till we're blue in the face, and it wouldn't make one tiny bit of difference. I firmly believe that the product has to be there before anyone will buy up the promotion of it, and right now, that's just not the case with track & field. Be it silly meet schedules (pick and choose the events), ridiculously long tape delays, athletes ducking each other, drug testing fiascos, or a dizzying array of records and asterisks (illegal wind, altitude, temporary track, etc.), there just isn't enough substance to appeal to anyone not already enamored with the sport.

Dan
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