Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by DolphinK » Sun, 20 Apr 1997 04:00:00


     The Boston Marathon provides the perfect backdrop to see what's wrong
with Road Racing and Track & Field in this country. Something is wrong
when
the best, a supposedly, prestigious event like the Boston Marathon can do
is
sell it to ESPN2, with minor coverage on ESPN. The ESPN presentation isn't
even listed in TV Guides sports listings for the week. Most likely people
who
only have ESPN will never even know that the Boston Marathon had any
coverage
on TV (12:30am Tuesday). What idiots got sucked into buying air time for
this
deal? ESPN2 has VERY limited market penetration. I live in suburban
Buffalo,
NY (7 miles away). This is a decent sports market and Adelphia cable only
provides ESPN coverage. Adelphia Cable has been promising us ESPN2
coverage for years. I called Adelphia Cable and now their saying it will
be here by
November 97. They told me November 96 last year.
     According to Runners Worlds Magazine (April 97) 1996 Running shoe
sales
"went through the roof". Why aren't these companies putting OUR money back
into OUR sport. Road Runner are providing most these sales. Runners are
paying
ridiculous prices for their shoes only to see NO running TV programs or
races.
     It would seem that common sense suggests that these companies should
be
trying to interest more athletes into our sport. A sport which can make
them
these kinds of profits. I'm quite sure that if the guy that makes beef
jerky
and spray paints his head can afford hours of network air time, whats
wrong
with Nike, New Balance, etal.. Your telling me they can't even ante up for
network coverage of the Boston Marathon? Sick!!! What good is New Balance
putting up one million dollars for a USA record breaking Boston Marathon
effort if only a few people get to watch the event, or even know it
happened
(except the winner).
     Last year Saucony sponsored a running program which I enjoyed. So
being
"Loyal to the sport" I tried a pair. I didn't like them, but at least I
tried
their product. I'm convinced that if a small company with a DECENT product
would sponsor a REGULAR Road Racing program and ACTUALLY give back to OUR
sport they would hurt the big boys market share real quick. Any
entrepreneurs out there?
     After Uta's and Moses gutsy performances last year how could the
powers
to be stick this event on ESPN2. It's an insult to these great athletes
and
all Road Runners in general. It would appear the second 100 years of the
Boston Marathon are not much different than the very 1st races. As far as
my
available coverage, it will be a few short clips and maybe a photo in the
newspaper. I'm sure the founders of this race would be VERY disappointed
in
BAA. After 100 years this race, this sport, deserves better.
     Anyone agree or disagree?

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by Doug Free » Sun, 20 Apr 1997 04:00:00

DolphinKik Opines:
|>      The Boston Marathon provides the perfect backdrop to see what's wrong
|> with Road Racing and Track & Field in this country. Something is wrong
|> when
|> the best, a supposedly, prestigious event like the Boston Marathon can do
|> is
|> sell it to ESPN2, with minor coverage on ESPN. The ESPN presentation isn't
|> even listed in TV Guides sports listings for the week. Most likely people

While I share your view that the BM being shown on ESPN2 is not much better
the a pocket full of change on the Hale-Bopp, it is a step
forward.  For the last 11 years that I have run it, the only station
that showed the race was the local Boston station.  This may not reach
your area but it will reach others. Some sports have started out on cable,
gained prestige, and migrated to stations with more penetration.
Beach volleyball is a recent example.

|> deal? ESPN2 has VERY limited market penetration. I live in suburban
|> Buffalo,
|> NY (7 miles away). This is a decent sports market and Adelphia cable only
|> provides ESPN coverage. Adelphia Cable has been promising us ESPN2
|> coverage for years. I called Adelphia Cable and now their saying it will
|> be here by
|> November 97. They told me November 96 last year.

They by all means *** at them. I live south of you(Ulster County, Kingston)
and have a much smaller cable company and they do have ESPN2. Go Figure.

|>      According to Runners Worlds Magazine (April 97) 1996 Running shoe
|> sales
|> "went through the roof". Why aren't these companies putting OUR money back
|> into OUR sport. Road Runner are providing most these sales. Runners are
|> paying
|> ridiculous prices for their shoes only to see NO running TV programs or
|> races.

I guess you are really purging your system today. I may personally
detest the Nike company -  you say they  don't advertise? The others
have a  much smaller piece of the shoe pie, and must balance profits
with R&D. We all whine a carp that the shoe companies are making
gazillions of $$$s. With the exception of Nike who really knows
what their bottom line profit is?  I'm not carrying the shoe
company banner but I would like to see the other  side. None of us
really know that bottom line, although we would really to see it.

|> jerky
|> and spray paints his head can afford hours of network air time, whats
|> wrong
|> with Nike, New Balance, etal.. Your telling me they can't even ante up for
|> network coverage of the Boston Marathon? Sick!!! What good is New Balance

They all have internet addresses,  go ASK!

|>      After Uta's and Moses gutsy performances last year how could the
|> powers
|> to be stick this event on ESPN2. It's an insult to these great athletes
|> and

Where the hell have you been living?  You are looking through the eyes
of a pure running enthusiast  and  there are not many of us
out there.  The general folks that turn on the TV to watch a
sporting event could give a shit about some guy names Moses from
Africa and  in spite of Uta's charm and beauty, her either.  This  
takes us back to the some old topic - we need heroes, AMERICAN
heroes. The average Joe, who pays  the tab for TV time does
not want to watch a race where they view 3 hours of African and
Mexican names. Like it or not, it does not sell. If we had
American runners that can compete consistently at those levels
and generate race hype, just like they do in boxing or
gymnastics, the average viewer would probably tune in.

Our only hope is the Replacement for the head of USATF, does
not have his/her head up the dark place, grabs the reins and
move the sport forward with a wider  vision. Unfortunately  
this will take  5-10 years. Again, we can only hope.

|> BAA. After 100 years this race, this sport, deserves better.
|>      Anyone agree or disagree?

I agree with your enthusiasm but you need to factor reality with
the emotion.

--
Doug Freese  All opinions are mine. IBM Tele: 8-293-8098


 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by Clarence P. Jackso » Sun, 20 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Too bad you don't live in Ontario.  Unbelievable as it seems, we have
decent coverage here from pre-start to post-finish, with decent
commentary (Peter Fonseca), at the same time as the race itself.  Too
good to be true you say, well, it true, I can't find the catch.  Last
year was great coverage given the usual coverage of running we get here,
and i expect this year to be pretty good also.  It's on the NEW VR
(CKVR) from Barrie, and available to much of the province.

Cheers,
Clarence!

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by DolphinK » Mon, 21 Apr 1997 04:00:00

    The Boston Marathon provides the perfect backdrop to see
what's wrong with Road Racing and Track & Field in this country.
Something is wrong when the best, a supposedly, prestigious event
like the Boston Marathon can do is sell it to ESPN2, with minor
coverage on ESPN. The ESPN presentation isn't even listed in TV
Guides sports listings for the week. Most likely people who only
have ESPN will never even know that the Boston Marathon had any
coverage on TV (12:30am Tuesday). What idiots got sucked into
buying air time for this deal? ESPN2 has VERY limited market
penetration. I live in suburban Buffalo, NY (7 miles away). This
is a decent sports market and Adelphia cable only provides ESPN
coverage. Adelphia Cable has been promising us ESPN2 coverage for
years. I called Adelphia Cable and now their saying it will be
here by November 97. They told me November 96 last year.
    According to Runners Worlds Magazine (April 97) 1996 Running
shoe sales "went through the roof". Why aren't these companies
putting OUR money back into OUR sport. Road Runner are providing
most these sales. Runners are paying ridiculous prices for their
shoes only to see NO running TV programs or races.
    It would seem that common sense suggests that these companies
should be trying to interest more athletes into our sport. A
sport which can make them these kinds of profits. I'm quite sure
that if the guy that makes beef jerky and spray paints his head
can afford hours of network air time, whats wrong with Nike, New
Balance, etal.. Your telling me they can't even ante up for
network coverage of the Boston Marathon? Sick!!! What good is New
Balance putting up one million dollars for a USA record breaking
Boston Marathon effort if only a few people get to watch the
event, or even know it happened (except the winner).
    Last year Saucony sponsored a running program which I
enjoyed. So being "Loyal to the sport" I tried a pair. I didn't
like them, but at least I tried their product. I'm convinced that
if a small company with a DECENT product would sponsor a REGULAR
Road Racing program and ACTUALLY give back to OUR sport they
would hurt the big boys market share real quick. Any
entrepreneurs out there?
    After Uta's and Moses gutsy performances last year how could
the powers to be stick this event on ESPN2. It's an insult to
these great athletes and all Road Runners in general. It would
appear the second 100 years of the Boston Marathon are not much
different than the very 1st races. As far as my available
coverage, it will be a few short clips and maybe a photo in the
newspaper. I'm sure the founders of this race would be VERY
disappointed in BAA. After 100 years this race deserves better.
    Anyone agree or disagree?

If we needed American heros in order to sell running in this country how
does Peachtree get 50,000 runners, NYC Marathon 29,000, etc.. Who's buying
all these running shoes? Americans!!!!!
Buffalo, NY has close to 100 5 & 10K road races annually. I doubt 2% of
the runners would even recognize Frank Shorter. Road Racing is alive and
well without heros.

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by Mike Tenne » Tue, 22 Apr 1997 04:00:00

<ENTIRE 61 line copy of his own previous post snipped>

DolphinKik....

I will resist the temptation to post the obligatory new aol user
flame. I'll be nice. I'll be instructive. I won't shout.... much.


and learn how to respond to messages? Please?

You managed to repost your entire first message when responding to
Doug. WE READ IT ALREADY!!!

What you need to include is small snippets of the post you are
responding to. NOT your post. NOT everything, NOT irrelevant parts.
JUST the part you're responding to.

OK?

Now.....

Quote:
>If we needed American heros in order to sell running in this country how
>does Peachtree get 50,000 runners, NYC Marathon 29,000, etc.. Who's buying
>all these running shoes? Americans!!!!!
>Buffalo, NY has close to 100 5 & 10K road races annually. I doubt 2% of
>the runners would even recognize Frank Shorter. Road Racing is alive and
>well without heros.

Huie and Dewey were twins, except for Morton, and he was this
color......

i.e., huh?

I  thought you were talking about selling television rights for races,
not the popularity of running.  Those are quite different matters,
only peripherally related.

For TV to be interested in carrying races, the networks have to see an
appeal to a large, broad audience.  Watching a race on tv (esp. a
marathon) is, to a non-runner, about as exciting as watching grass
grow. Obviously, research indicates there aren't enough runners
watching to warrant broadcasting it except as a niche item on ESPN2.

They're probably right. There has to be some personal (or national)
interest in the people involved for a large number of people to watch
sports. Or it has to be an "event."  Boston,  LA,  New York, or the
IronMan.

National heroes would help.  Awareness would help. Leadership from
USATF would help.

But this has nothing to do with the popularity of actual running. It's
ratings. Runs don't get ratings. Bottom Line.

Mike "TriBop" Tennent
WebRunner Running Page
http://www.webrunner.com/webrun/running/running.html
My Model Railroad Page
http://www.webrunner.com/webrun/srr/

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by Nick Effo » Tue, 22 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> Too bad you don't live in Ontario.  Unbelievable as it seems, we have
> decent coverage here from pre-start to post-finish, with decent

Likewise with the London Marathon.  BBC TV did 2.5 hours of live
coverage in the morning, concentrating mainly on the elite athletes.
There was also a highlights programme in the evening, giving a lot
more attention to fun runners and featuring interviews with
those raising money for charities, etc.

The Great North Run also gets decent TV coverage (did last year,
anyway).

Nick

--

School of Computer Studies | voice: +44 113 233 6809 (direct line)
Univ. of Leeds, Leeds, UK  | http://dream.leeds.ac.uk/nde/

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by Sam Calla » Thu, 24 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Quote:
>     According to Runners Worlds Magazine (April 97) 1996 Running
> shoe sales "went through the roof". Why aren't these companies
> putting OUR money back into OUR sport. Road Runner are providing
> most these sales. Runners are paying ridiculous prices for their
> shoes only to see NO running TV programs or races.

        Part of this issue is your thinking that only runners are buying
running shoes.  If you look around, you will see a lot of non-runners
wearing running shoes.  Also I bet Nike makes more from its sale of
basketball style shoes than running style shoes.  So using your logic,
Nike should put more into basketball (which it does).

Quote:
>     After Uta's and Moses gutsy performances last year how could
> the powers to be stick this event on ESPN2. It's an insult to
> these great athletes and all Road Runners in general. It would
> appear the second 100 years of the Boston Marathon are not much
> different than the very 1st races. As far as my available
> coverage, it will be a few short clips and maybe a photo in the
> newspaper. I'm sure the founders of this race would be VERY
> disappointed in BAA. After 100 years this race deserves better.
>     Anyone agree or disagree?

        I doubt the foreign athletes feel cheated since I doubt Kenyan
cable gets ESPN2.  How much coverage of the marathon was around in the
1960s?  Or 1970s except when Rodgers began to win?

        I think runners are DOERS who would rather be out running than
watching someone else run.  Unlike football where very few get to play
after high school (this goes for every other sport except golf and tennis
and a few others), running is something that you can do for a lifetime and
not ever consider it a sport--it is a part of your lifestyle.  

        Why does it deserve better?  What has it done to market itself?  I
think that it is the granddaddy and can sit on its laurels and history and
still attract 10000 runners every year.  
        If something gets good ratings, then it will be on TV.  I would
rather have it on ESPN2 than when it was NEVER on TV (at least outside New
England).  If it is successful, then a larger station will pick it up.  It
will never be on national TV (that is an over the air "free" TV NBC, CBS,
ABC) since it would interrupt soap operas which make big bucks and attract
a far larger audience.

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by TonyLinf » Sun, 27 Apr 1997 04:00:00

I'm one of those guys who work for the shoe companies, but in Europe.

My first advice if you love running and Track and Field move to Europe. We
have much better coverage, even of US events. Last year I watched both
Boston and New York live and uninterupted.

With regard to the shoe brands supporting the sport we are the biggest
supporter in many ways.
Firstly we help, through stipends and grants, the promising athletes focus
on training and give them the best opporunity to maximise their ability.
In the UK the Federation does not give any such support which is a shame.
In the US it is similar.
Secondly we do a lot at the grass roots of the sport. The local road races
you can run in week in week out, the seminars you go to, the kids events
we encourage are all dependant on shoe company support. Take the adidas /
Footlocker cross - country for high school kids. Where would that be
without sports company sponsorship ?
To get TV coverage in the US Running needs  a new hero that has mass
appeal. Yes in 96 Uta's run was awesome, but who, apart from us running
geeks, has heard of Uta Pippig ? You need an American hero. A new Shorter,
Rodgers or Benoit. Unfortunately I do not see one coming.
But also you need better marketing. The London Marathon, live on BBC1
(like NBC) for 3 hours plus highlights in the evening attracted over 7
million viewers (14% of the UK population). One could argue that Running
and Track and field are badly marketed in the US, which makes it
commercially less attractive.
Thers's no easy solution, but please do not blame the shoe companies. If
you really analyse all the work that goes on you'd be amazed at how much
investment at the grass roots of the sport there really is.

Good Running, Tony Linford, head of Running adidas UK.

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by Dahi » Sun, 27 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Amen Tony. Its all in the way it (HASN'T BEEN) marketed in the US. If
people will watch four hours of golf, or four hours of auto racing, proper
marketing will get them to watch track and field or even marathons.

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by Abhay Thatt » Sun, 27 Apr 1997 04:00:00


Quote:
> But also you need better marketing. The London Marathon, live on BBC1
> (like NBC) for 3 hours plus highlights in the evening attracted over 7
> million viewers (14% of the UK population). One could argue that Running
> and Track and field are badly marketed in the US, which makes it
> commercially less attractive.

Please realize that unlike in UK, the market for TV viewership is very
competitive in the USA.  In Europe, the State subsidises all kinds of
channels incl. BBC in UK.  In USA, there is a small subsidy for PBS: just
enough to keep it alive, not enough to keep it healthy.  (for the record,
I would like to see the P(erpetual) B(ullshit) S(tation) become
independent...) anyway, in Europe, there are maybe 8 channels total in the
typical country.  In USA the typical city gets about 50 channels.

The end result is that US TV is fiercely ratings driven.  And please note
that the structure of the European TV market is looking more and more like
ours.

A question, do r.r. viewers feel they could finance an exclusive running
channel on TV?  Personally, I wouldm't mind paying maybe $ 15 a month for
3-4 hrs. of running/racing coverage each day.

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by DolphinK » Sun, 27 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Hi Tony,
Thanks for your reply/interest.
I don't mind helping promising athletes. I encourge it. From what I've
read most promising runners, swimmers, triatletes get little more than
free equipment, the better ones maybe an ave. of $1000 per month. A friend
of mine has been fighting with New Balance over a pair of shoes she was
promised for being on the New Balance relay team in last years Buffalo
Marathon. Plus her New Balance team won. Incredible.
Companies that sell fishing gear sponsor programs for fishermen, bowling
TV shows for bowlers, billiards for pool players. WHY??? They have a good
buyer audience to sell their products, it helps keep them motivated in
their sport, and possibly interest new people into the sport. All which in
turn generate more sales. Why no running events for runners? We provide
huge sales. It make no sense to me.
Granted kids emulate what they see on TV. However, I don't think they need
a bigger than life hero to make them want to train harder or take up the
sport. I attended a race last year which had 9000 runners. Maybe 200 went
to see Bill Rodgers speak. Exposure not heros. Your putting the cart in
front of the horse. There are many Nascar stars which haven't even won a
race. Exposure not heros!!!
From a runners perspective you don't have to be a winner to be a hero. Bob
Kempenien proved he was a hero weather he finished 1st, 28th, or dropped
out of the Olympics. Middle and  back of packers can relate to this. To
individual athletes, if you try your a winner. Team sports have less of
this mentality. Sporting goods companies seem to have lost this athletes
perspective. Do you think If there were no golf programs on TV before
Tiger Woods, would he be able to pull the sport up from nothing. Who would
have seen him win the Masters. I seriously doubt it. Heros die fast these
days. Thanks to the corporate mentality, it's what have you done for me
lately. You want to sell more running products televise races, clinics,
etc.. Exposure, exposure, & more exposure.
Just my opinion.

 
 
 

Boston Marathon, what's wrong with running in the USA?

Post by TonyLinf » Mon, 05 May 1997 04:00:00

I'm not sure when you were last in Europe we now get over 30 channels,
just in English let alone all of the other languages.
The bottom line is that Track and Field and running have a higher
perceived status. Someone needs to get hold of the sport in the US and
drive it forward. Afterall there should be enough interested runners /
families to make the Boston marathon a worthwhile venture, even on a niche
cable channel.