On my way to work this morning, I was listening to the Mike & Mike show on ESPN Radio. There was a good debate about why certain programming is highlighted more than others.
For example, on the day Kobe Bryant appeared in court a few weeks ago, ESPN devoted the entire hour of SportsCenter to coverage of the case. It was one of their highest rated shows of the year -- yet in a recent poll they conducted, 70% of the people think they are devoting too much time to the case.
Sure, they might be covering (and every other news source for that matter) the case too much but the bottom line is that it brings in the ratings and, in turn, more money for the network.
So while all these people complain about too much coverage of events such as the Kobe case, they are the ones who are still watching. If no one was watching, they would not cover it -- bottom line.
This leads me to people on this board and others who complain about the lack of coverage of our sport on ESPN and other sports television networks. Some people may say how can they show the World Series of Poker, Cheerleading, Bowling and other events instead of track & field.
Although it's hard to grasp, there are more people in this country who are interested in watching events such as the World Series of Poker and the X Games. Fox Sports Net has an entire show, 5 days a week, dedicated to events such as the X Games. Why? Because people are interested in watching it.
We can sit here all day and complain to each other about why ESPN did not show the 10k or the shot put finals. We, as consumers, have the power to change what they wish to show. If more people would watch, then I'm sure they would change their programming around.
So I urge everyone to watch the events this week on ESPN and ABC as you can. The more people that watch, the more coverage they will provide. Unfortunatly, I'm afraid that the ratings will show not many people will be interested. So why should ESPN go out of their way to show this programming if not many people are?
Yeah, the sad fact that most hardcore track fans can't wrap their fingers around is that there just aren't enough of us. Members of special-interest groups frequently are confused by what revolves around what.
Picture this - "The World Championship Rowing Races" Todays events:
The 4 mile row (30 minutes of a camera following a bunch of guys rowing down a river) followed by
The 2 mile row (15 minutes of a bunch of guys rowing down the river) followed by
The 1 mile row (7 minutes of a bunch of guys rowing down the river - commercial free!)
You get the point.
I'm sorry - but I would rather watch baseball, football, hell even golf, rather than watch the same thing for 30 minutes. That's the dilemma TV faces with track - the events often take too long (even field events with 6 attempts) and people channel surf.
We are a niche sport. Always will be. People who are interested are VERY interested, and those who aren't probably never will be. That's fine with me. I don't see the media suddenly saying "holy s*@t!! - look at all the interest in T&F.
Good point avidfan! But go to a NASCAR race - it's fast cars, beer, danger, ball-scratchin', cussin', deep-fried animal parts, more beer, scantily clad women (some damn good lookin'), more beer, wierd smells, and that's before you even get in the gates!! Not suprising it's popular.
The San Jose Mercury News publishes TV ratings for the weekend on the broadcast networks in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2001 the World Championships did not have live coverage of the 100 finals because it preceded the X Games which were shown during the 100 finals. Despite this handicap THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS HAD SLIGHTLY HIGHER RATINGS THAN THE X GAMES! Perhaps advertisers think that t&f fans are too smart to succumb to their pitches while the X Games appeal to retards. In any event t&f ratings seem to me to be decent. Who has conflicting evidence?
I agree. The fact that ESPN self-promotes with the best of them has a lot to do with the success of the X-games. Their mag is little more than a biweekly announcement of "Here's what you can see on ESPN!". The only times they have ever printed more than one sentence about track were in the weeks leading up to their coverage of a Worlds. A few weeks ago, they literally handed over half of the mag to hyping the X-games.
I suppose I'm biased, but I've always believed that track is an inherently exciting sport. And I've also believed that US coverage of it tries to eliminate all that excitement.
The reason ESPN pumps up the X-Games so much is because they invented and own the X-Games. It's in their best interest to promote and hype it constantly since they are looking for long term profits from the X-Games (product endorsements, side products, toys, advertisements, attendence, etc.). ESPN's revenue from track on the other hand, only comes from advertising revenue.
Face it folks. While the average American Joe is a lovable one, he's still a dufus and doesn't like to use his brain too often. Track AND FIELD is a thinking man's sport, and an individualistic one. Most people feel more comfortable when they DON'T stand out from the crowd. Most people love to be LED, as opposed to leading or doing their own thing. Face it, Joe Sixpack doesn't give a rat's behind about sports that require thinking, dedication, and talent. They want something they can relate to or sit back and have a cold one while watching!
I know I'm different from the majority, and I'll gladly KEEP IT THAT WAY, THANK YOU!
After 40 years in the sport, I'm still somewhat mystified why more participants in track & field don't become fans later on. We all know the numbers in HS and college are huge, yet a miniscule percentage retains any interest at all after their own careers are over. The best I can come up with is that it is inherently an indivdual sport, and the personality-type attracted to it is egocentric, and not real interested in anything but his/her own career.
I think J Squire is also largely correct. American TV, in their general annoying cluelessness, somehow manages to remove most of the excitement from an inherently exciting and highly competitive sport. Something that can be hyped through a lot of yelling and loud music, like the X-Games, they understand. Something like track where all of the excitement is contained in the actual sport itself seems beyond their capabilities to grasp. So they cover it like they're covering a boring family Christmas party that their mommy forced them to attend.
You guys are unbelieveable! All you do is bitch about meaningless details within the sport and then praise others sports. You don't sound like track fans to me. I love the sport as is and I don't think it needs to change one thing. All the other sports you mention are popular because their love for their sport is very strong. They are positive and call T.V. stations or media outlets and complain when their sport is not being shown. Stop badmouthing the sport and start sending your letters to ESPN or the other major networks and tell them you want better coverage and more of it!
>>>Face it folks. While the average American Joe is a lovable one, he's still a dufus and doesn't like to use his brain too often. Track AND FIELD is a thinking man's sport, and an individualistic one. Most people feel more comfortable when they DON'T stand out from the crowd. Most people love to be LED, as opposed to leading or doing their own thing. Face it, Joe Sixpack doesn't give a rat's behind about sports that require thinking, dedication, and talent. They want something they can relate to or sit back and have a cold one while watching!
I know I'm different from the majority, and I'll gladly KEEP IT THAT WAY, THANK YOU!
great point kurt, 90 % of people cant relate to running a sub 10 100, jumping 19 ft in the pole vault or putting the shot 70 ft. it is not like they can do it on sunday morning. by i am sure they play baseball/softball or toss the football or shoot baskets. they can watch football on sunday afternoon with their beer in hand etc
in track everything happens so fast it is hard to appreciate it unless you are knowledgeable. so many events, athletes, heats etc. in football it is a handfullof people in each game, they same thing in basketball and baseball. even in stupid nascar and golf it is the same people competing every weekend. in track people come and go, some get injured, some retire without even anyone knowing etc. even the average guy who follows sports and watched the last two olympics would not be able to recognize 95 % of the track athletes even at this meet. it is very complicated and probably ratings are a small part of the problem.