Kermit wrote:Geoff it memory serves me well meet like Zurich and Oslo were shown as a highlights package after 2200 with opening and closing presentation by either Ron Pickering or David Coleman. The bulk of the show was action, action, action.
For me the key thing is that Ron actually knew something about athletics and coaching. He tried to educate the audience about the sport to make it accessible - unlike what we see today.
Interestingly the fastest growing sport in the world is mixed martial arts (just check out Eurosport to see it has it's own section unlike athletics), something that didn't even exist as a TV commodity until 1992. We've all seen and can probably appreciate boxing to some extent but the wrestling and ground fighting elements of the competition were initially inaccessible to the lay person and so the sport struggled to gain mass appeal.
Then in step a corporation with good marketing and money in their eyes - the UFC run by Vegas billionaires. What they have done amazingly well is get great commentators like Joe Rogan (who is both a huge great tv personality in his own right in the US and an expert on the subject of both stand up and ground fighting) who educate the audience about what is happening as the fights unfold. As a result people who aren't involved in fighting as a hobby can engage. In fact they are now so engaged that they pay something like $35 to watch every UFC competition on pay per view. Not only that but the UFC have multiple networks fighting over the rights to its events. In fact they just signed a multi year deal with the biggest TV channel on the planet (Fox) to ensure the sport continues to grow. Now there is a minority sport that marketed itself to the max and grown exponentially because of it.
Athletics could of course could learn from this but the key difference is that the UFC is a commercial entity which aims to make money and so the people involved have an incentive to succeed (and the ability to get very rich as a result), whereas within athletics there is no incentive to evolve and grow the sport. For the people who could make it happen all that really matters is that they get enough votes to be re-elected keep calm and and carry on.