The truth is the world of international sports is a very competitive
place. Over the last 10-15 years track has done a marvelous job marketing
itself as a "first class glamour" sport. The same is true for ice skating.
few years ago the Ice Capades was on it's last legs, now every ice skating
competition and show is sold out. What these sports have done, by
marketing their stars, personalities and rivalries is guaranteed themselves
a place in the international competitive sports world.
Today, tradition does not guarantee that your sport will be included in
the Olympic games or any number of international sporting events. These
events cost a lot of money to produce and the sponsors want the most bang
for their bucks. So these events are going to look for sports that attract
television money and an international audience. There are many sports
vying for a place in the international sports arena and rowing is just one
of them. And in the past, our sport has not been all that telegenic.
In order for rowing to make and keep its place on this world stage,
it must market itself through television exposure. Television can take
a "second or third class" sport and provide the money and worldwide
exposure that can make a sport like rowing into a "first class glamour"
sport. Later this year, FISA will begin to sponsor a competitive rowing
series in the hopes of attracting a television contract to help popularize
the sport of rowing to the rest of the world.
The problem with television is that the events must be tailored for
the television format. This could change the face of competitive rowing as
know it. However, I think the boulder has already started rolling down
the hill and either we stay ahead of it or get out of the way.
FISA Pleasure Rowing Commission