USATF.TV TO DEBUT AT NATIONALS IN DES MOINES

USATFNationals2013     If we can bitch and moan when things aren’t being done well — and God knows I have — then we must salute when something is.  So while track & field (“athletics” to the rest of the world) may still be well behind the curve of other individual sports like golf and tennis in terms of having its own broadcast channel, under new CEO Max Siegel USATF is launching an array of media coverage for its upcoming National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa that should make even die-hard critics doff their caps in recognition of progress.  The following presser was released today on the eve of the USATF Championships.


DES MOINES, Iowa –  USATF’s fully branded internet broadcasting outlet, USATF.TV, will go live this week to webcast unprecedented coverage of the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships and USA Junior Championships from Des Moines, Iowa.

With 50 hours of webcasting coverage and nine hours of national television coverage, 2013 marks USATF’s most aggressive national media distribution of a national championship to date.

“This weekend is just the start of our aggressive digital media strategy, which will build throughout the summer and into 2014,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “Fans will find more and more sophisticated event coverage, as well as a range of creative programming and behind-the-scenes footage as we continue to develop USATF.TV.”

USATF.TV will launch on Wednesday, June 19 with live coverage from 1 p.m.-7:20 p.m. ET and includes complete coverage of the Junior heptathlon and decathlon competition. Thursday coverage includes the finals of the men’s and women’s 10,000 meters. Current entries include 2012 Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp in the men’s race and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan and 2007 World Outdoor bronze medalist Kara Goucher in the women’s race.

With 50 hours of webcasting coverage, the schedule continues through June 23rd, with webcasts featuring running events, race walks and field events. The webcast will complement USATF’s robust TV coverage for the meet, which begins Friday, June 21 and includes nine hours of coverage of ESPN, Universal Sports, the NBC Sports Network and NBC. During the live TV broadcasts, the webcast will switch to field event coverage.

In addition, the USATF original program, “USATF 36: Sanya Richards-Ross” will debut on NBC Sports Network on Friday, June 21 from 7:00-7:30 p.m. ET and will re-air later that night, at 11:30 p.m. ET

USATF.TV Webcasting Schedule
2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and Junior Track & Field Championships
All times Eastern

June 19, 1pm to 7:20pm
June 20th, 11am to 10:25pm
June 21st, 11am to 10:35pm (Only field events from 8-10pm)
June 22nd, 7:30am to 7pm (Only field events from 4-7pm)
June 23rd, 8am to 6pm (Only field events from 3-6pm)

Broadcasting Schedule
USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
All times Eastern. Check Local Listings.

June 21, LIVE 8-10 p.m. on ESPN2
June 22, LIVE 4-5 p.m. on Universal Sports, LIVE 5-7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network
June 23, 2-3 p.m. on Universal Sports, LIVE 3-4 p.m. on NBC Sports Network, LIVE 4-6 p.m. on NBC
_______________________________________________________________
     While the quality and reliability (bandwidth) of its programming will determine its ultimate fate, USATF.TV’s branding, alone, is a savvy first step.  What running and track have always lacked has been a unifying marketing force, as USATF has had to tread a line between national governing body and professional promoter.  Even the World Marathon Majors remained a closed shop of five events for its first seven years before inviting Tokyo to join in 2013.
HalfMarathon Grand Prix     Yet running, in all its permutations, continues to proliferate around the globe, with almost all of it independent and unaffiliated, thereby robbing the sport of the synergy of cohesion.  Though, in March of this year Competitor Group in San Diego, purveyors of the popular Rock `n` Roll Marathons, announced its Half Marathon Grand Prix, a two-year, 30-race, age-group and professional series with a prize purse of $240,000.  So there is movement afoot.
     With his own background in sports marketing, entertainment, and media, Max Siegel has seen how the “other worlds” function.  If he can take that experience and convince the other stake holders in the sport, and his bureaucratic brethren in Indy, to follow his lead toward a more mainstream position, as USATF.TV suggests on its face, who knows where the damn thing might eventually go.
     What’s also interesting is that the USATF.TV homepage seems to indicate that it is an offshoot of RunnerSpace.com, which for years has been streaming coverage of the USA Running Circuit, the road championships series which is also under the auspices of USATF.  Yet now for track and field, the platform has been branded as USATF.TV.
     As ever, let’s wait and see.  But this looks like they are off on the right foot.
END
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2 thoughts on “USATF.TV TO DEBUT AT NATIONALS IN DES MOINES

  1. I agree this is good news for fans hoping to follow the championships. I see, however, that there is still broadcast coverage scheduled, and that’s a good thing (if it’s good), because if we as a sport retreat into webcasts that need to be sought out, we won’t be discoverable to new fans. And new fans are what we need.

    • It is, as you suggest, necessary to maintain a broadcast presence in order to attract new viewers, or casual viewers. But Siegel seems to have done that, as well. Overall, it looks like a well-rounded effort that recognizes both the needs of the past and those of the future.

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