>"Penn isn't a track meet, it's a social event, >and one social event can't make up for general >disinterest. Through the years they've tried to >throw other big meets in Philly and they don't >fly. The number of people who showed up for the >Ryun/Liquori "dream mile" was horridly small."
I agree there is general disinterest. However, Penn is BOTH a track meet AND social event! The organizers do a solid job of ensuring there's a balance. The USA / Jamaica (& other) showdowns play well with Philly's & East Coast's demographics, which includes a sizeable Jamaican community.
Much of track & field's problem in America is that the entertainment / fun value is woefully neglected, unlike in Europe. Part of the reason why relay carnivals do relatively well (compared to other USA meets) is they are more FUN to casual fans. A critical factor if track is to appeal to more than a very small set of hardcore fans, & hit the big time in USA.