View from 7th & Hope Street, downtown L.A.
View from 7th & Hope Street, downtown L.A.

Los Angeles, CA. – How important is live television to a sporting event? Some would argue it’s an absolute, and for the first time the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials have been accorded that distinction by NBC. But with TV comes compromise. And in this case it may turn out to be an important one, though purely by chance and fortune.

As the Midwest and North East bundle up for this weekend’s big freeze, out here on the sunny west coast its just the opposite. Here temperatures are expected to ramp up toward 80°F (27c). And with the men’s Trials kicking off at 10:06 a.m. Pacific time, followed by the women at 10:22, temperatures two hours later at noon will be 79°F,  very hot by marathon standards.

However, if the races started at 7 a.m. like tomorrow’s Skechers Performance LA Marathon will, the temperature would read a still tender 52° (11c) and will only be 64°F (18c) two hours later. If not perfect, that spread would be pretty, pretty, pretty good (Larry David reference).

But for live television you can’t start a sporting event on the network before noon on the East Coast. So the give-and-take of live television means that we may well see the make-up of the Rio Olympic team be different just because of that three hour difference in start time. Of course, the weather in Rio in August will be warm and humid, so maybe this is a good break after all.

And that, my friends, is how life in the big commercial pool of professional sports works. Maybe one day we’ll be able to dome the stadium and pump in the weather we like. Till then, don’t forget your sun block, and enjoy the show.

(Posted with apologies to our Midwest and Northeast friends for gloating).



  1. Toni, have you written anything regarding the athletes not being able have company logos on their kits? Obviously, it’s huge in NASCAR, the WNBA allows it, and you see it in European sport (cycling and x-c skiing come to mind). And I thought I heard something about the NBA moving in that direction. I just don’t understand why we don’t allow our athletes to actually try and make a living in this sport. Sure I understand corporate sponsorships of USATF, IAAF, etc., But it seems like there should be some type of compromise. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  2. Toni I wrote about this myself in RunOnThoughts. That whole “Can’t show live sports before noon is BS”
    (the network’s not yours). NY and Boston are shown live in the morning and runners tune in to watch. And let’s face it we’re kidding ourselves if we think more than a handful of casual, non-running sports fans will watch. It’s a specialty show for a select audience.

  3. I haven’t seen any online or on air promotion for this event by NBC or NBC Sports. I looked yesterday and couldn’t even find anything on their web sites or Facebook pages. You’d think there would be a home page promo for Ann Olympic Trials event taking place the next day. I DID see news articles about curling.

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