Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)


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Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby AS » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:23 pm

It's always interesting to hear Nick Symmonds' ideas about rejuvenating the sport. This interview has a few noteworthy suggestions: http://spikes-mag.tumblr.com/post/63726 ... -manifesto

Personally, I can see merit in gambling (it is an Australian national pasttime of course). I've certainly enjoyed beers at meets in a variety of locales.

And this one certainly got my attention as my hometown gets a mention:

"My long-term vision for the sport of athletics would be similar to tennis, where you have four majors each year. I would pick four cities to host them each year, maybe, Melbourne, Eugene, Zurich and one other, perhaps in Asia.

"It would pay out $100,000 for the win, and with that kind of prize money you can bet that every single athlete is going to drop every single thing that they are doing to train for them.


He goes on to say these wouldn't replace WCs, and that a meet might select certain events, and also have heats on the preceding day.

There'd certainly be a big budget at stake. Presuming it's not winner takes all, you'd be looking at probably $200k per event, so a 20 event meeting (which isn't that many across men & women) is forking out $4m in prizemoney.

That certainly pales in comparison to the $30m on offer at next week's tennis here in Melbourne, but that tournament runs for 2 weeks, attracts over 600,000 attendees (paying big bucks by week 2), and has global TV coverage (and a load of Asian sponsors due to timezone).

It's an ambitious idea, but does anyone see it as viable?
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby Flumpy » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:45 pm

Beer and gambling have always been part of my athletics enjoyment.

Having said that if gambling if introduced in the same way it is for horse racing then any drug problem we have now is going to explode.
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby AS » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:54 pm

As long as the gambling was only trackside and with some upper limit of wagers I can't imagine it would corrupt the sport in any meaningful way.

The biggest danger is a favourite having an incentive to 'throw' races and bet on over-the-odds rivals due to the high returns.

Other dangers would be hobbling of said favourities (I assume that's the drug reference you're making), or athletes lying low during a season so as to get long odds and a big payout for a surprise win.

As long as the rewards to the athlete (from payouts from bookies) for malfeasance do not exceed the prize money foregone, I would see the danger as low.
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby tandfman » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:09 pm

That would be very difficult, if not impossible, to control.

To me, the possibilities of corruption arising from gambling are scary.
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby 18.99s » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:14 pm

It would pay out $100,000 for the win, and with that kind of prize money you can bet that every single athlete is going to drop every single thing that they are doing to train for them.

Except the top make sprinters, who prefer to duck each other and can afford to do so because they get endorsement deals and/or appearance fees that dwarf $100K.
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby mrbowie » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:37 pm

Flumpy, it is impossible to know for sure, but based on my deep involvement in horse racing and my interest in track and field, I would say that there is a whole lot more cheating taking place with people runners than equines, so your fear is not well grounded.

Here is something to worry about even more.

On the betting exchange Betfair, horses can be bet to run lousy. Now THAT would scare the hell out of me as a gambler!
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby Flumpy » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:15 pm

mrbowie wrote:Flumpy, it is impossible to know for sure, but based on my deep involvement in horse racing and my interest in track and field, I would say that there is a whole lot more cheating taking place with people runners than equines, so your fear is not well grounded.


I wasn't suggesting that horse racing is rife with drug cheats just that with all the extra money flowing around athletics drug problem would a lot worse.
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby booond » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:48 pm

Flumpy wrote:
mrbowie wrote:Flumpy, it is impossible to know for sure, but based on my deep involvement in horse racing and my interest in track and field, I would say that there is a whole lot more cheating taking place with people runners than equines, so your fear is not well grounded.


I wasn't suggesting that horse racing is rife with drug cheats just that with all the extra money flowing around athletics drug problem would a lot worse.


Gambling is an insane idea. There isn't enough money in the sport to keep people honest.
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby AS » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:55 pm

I'll repeat what I said above, I assume Symmonds is only talking about trackside betting. If we're taking small bet sizes (and thus small pools and limited returns), this is merely designed as a diversion that will add higher engagement from the crowd's perspective. Think of it more like a 'fantasy league' level of engagement. The athletes are unlikely to have much to gain financially from betting on themselves or taking bribes to underperform (but they might see gains from the flow-through of higher ticket sales, or 'brand' (i.e. name) awareness).

As it stands, there is nothing stopping off-track/online betting on the sport through the existing channels. I have bet on WC and OG for years, and there is little evidence that this is corrupting the sport. I haven't seen markets on DL events, but that probably speaks to the lack of interest from the bigger punters (the sort of folks who do bet on the minutiae of a tennis/cricket match such as who will win the next point, serve the fastest ace, bowl the first wide etc).
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby mrbowie » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:13 pm

The main reason people bet on the outcome of a sporting contest is so that when the game is over and they win they can utter this phrase, as uttered by Ned Ryerson in the movie Groundhop Day: "Was I right, or was I right, OR WAS I RIGHT!"

That is what it all boils down to.

Anybody that has spent any time on these message boards can only imagine how much money would be handled on our sport just from T & F News fans alone! Boggles the mind.

"Am I right, or...."
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby track400meters1 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:49 pm

It appears from some research that i have read, beer might prohibit protein synthesis within muscle fibers.... Thus in the long run making them weaker and weaker..
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby AS » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:20 pm

track400meters1 wrote:It appears from some research that i have read, beer might prohibit protein synthesis within muscle fibers.... Thus in the long run making them weaker and weaker..


And this will affect the drinkers in the crowd how? :?
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Re: Symmonds' ideas (beer, gambling, Majors)

Postby BillVol » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:06 pm

Having four majors is a great idea
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