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Major changes to the Diamond League from 2020 onwards

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  • Major changes to the Diamond League from 2020 onwards

    https://www.iaaf.org/news/press-rele...e-2020-concept

    Not content with the 10,000m being a dying event, the IAAF have decided they want to kill off the 5000m too. From 2020 the longest distance on the programme will be 3000m.

    Furthermore, the existing 32 disciplines in the Diamond League will be cut to 24. However, it doesn't say what other events the IAAF has deemed surplus to requirements.

    Frankly, this is awful and I fear that, with the current IAAF mindset, we will barely recognise this sport in 10 years' time.

    Hopefully, the World Challenge meetings and better European meetings will step up to fill the void and put on a good number of top-class competition opportunities for all the athletes who will be shut out of the Diamond Leagues.

  • #2
    The DL 5000 finals in ‘17 and ‘18 were the meeting highlights. Very disappointing decision. Nothing to stop meeting organisers putting on a 5 or 10 at the start of a meeting - to give spectators value for money - but the best guys may now head to the roads.

    Law of unintended consequences: Coe brings this in at a time when the most marketable star in the sport someone whose Coach / Dad plans to be a 5/10 runner.

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    • #3
      The Highgate organisers should franchise their ‘product’ and we could have a European series of distance nights around Europe. Beer, music, tunnels, crowds in lane 4. Market 5 and 10 properly and people will turn out in their droves.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sovietvest View Post
        The Highgate organisers should franchise their ‘product’ and we could have a European series of distance nights around Europe. Beer, music, tunnels, crowds in lane 4. Market 5 and 10 properly and people will turn out in their droves.
        Good idea, soviet. Worth emailing Ben Pochee at Highgate with the idea?

        Ideally, the IAAF would fund and organise a 5000/10,000 World Challenge series like they did for that other group of athletes they shut out of Diamond League meetings, the Hammer throwers. However, I have little faith that they have anything of the sort in mind.

        I think in order to get the likes of Barega, Kejelcha, Obiri & Hassan to these distance night meetings they'd need to be offering prize money somewhere close to Diamond League levels. Sponsorship would be needed because ticket sales could only raise a fraction of the prize money, and not just sponsors who are going to pull out after a year or two.

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        • #5
          So they're looking to change down to a 90 minute format from the current 2 hour program, I wouldn't describe it as groundbreaking. T20 cricket matches last 3 hours, rugby and football essentially take up 2 hours, I can't see how chopping 30 minutes of action alone will convince the next generation to watch in their droves.

          The press release mentions that the 8 events to make way will be amongst the least entertaining and that these events will be bought back into the fold the following year. Well let's say they drop the women's Shot in the 1st year, the quality of that event is hardly likely to improve over the next 12 months if it's athletes are able to compete less often. When it does come back in the following year athletes may have left the event and fans are less likely to be familiar with who is competing, it then becomes a vicious cycle.

          Of course meeting organisers can still stage non DL events but it will mean less appearance fees, less prestige for those events and will continue their decline

          But I do like the sound of having a meeting once a week in a regular time slot
          Last edited by treadwater1; 11-03-19, 19:45.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by treadwater1 View Post
            ...
            The press release mentions that the 8 events to make way will be amongst the least entertaining and that these events will be bought back into the fold the following year. Well let's say they drop the women's Shot in the 1st year, the quality of that event is hardly likely to improve over the next 12 months if it's athletes are able to compete less often. When it does come back in the following year athletes may have left the event and fans are less likely to be familiar with who is competing, it then becomes a vicious cycle.
            ...
            Is there another longer press release beyond the link I posted because I can't see that they said that at the link I provided?

            If indeed that is the case though, it would seem to be at odds with their aim to create stars that fans can follow easily. For many people, it's not too easy to follow them if they're not performing at the biggest meetings every year.

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            • #7
              On the reduction of Diamond League disciplines and which events will be included in future, @JRidgeon said: "We're going to make those decisions at the end of the summer once we have been able to see which disciplines are throwing up the best head-to-heads..."

              "We're going to decide which are the most entertaining disciplines that represents the best possible shop window for the sport. We'll do that on an annual basis, review what makes up the best 24 disciplines."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by treadwater1 View Post
                On the reduction of Diamond League disciplines and which events will be included in future, @JRidgeon said: "We're going to make those decisions at the end of the summer once we have been able to see which disciplines are throwing up the best head-to-heads..."

                "We're going to decide which are the most entertaining disciplines that represents the best possible shop window for the sport. We'll do that on an annual basis, review what makes up the best 24 disciplines."
                Ok, so the IAAF better hope that Obiri vs Hassan and all those other sub-14:30 women turns out to be a damp squib this year. And they'll have fingers crossed that Barega vs Gebrhiwet vs Kejelcha turns out to be a non-contest. Otherwise, they'll look a bit foolish (i.e., even more than they do now.)

                I hope athletes in all disciplines kick up a huge stink about this just like they did when they were reduced to 4 attempts in the horizontal jumps and throws. That was reversed and I see that they have gone back to giving field eventers 60 seconds countdown instead of 30 seconds (I'm guessing also due to athletes complaints?)
                Last edited by LuckySpikes; 12-03-19, 00:58.

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                • #9
                  I’ve only just signed up here but this is a terrible decision for the sport. There is going to be at least one discipline that is massively compromised here... i’m guessing it’s either a longer distance event or a middle distance discipline. As much as the shorter sprints are my favourites, by calculating the withdrawals we’re going to lose at least 1 or 2 track events - which is not good at all. Feel sorry for field athletes as they’re likely to lose an event. Why decrease events? Ridiculous

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                  • #10
                    On the plus side, there’ll be fewer pacemakers. On the negative side, virtually everything else.

                    All to do with marketing and nothing to do with sport. Would they have dared do it when Mo was at his peak? At least there might be a little more sympathy for the hammerists now.

                    i hope whatever body decides what “entertaining” is has a fair representation from across the disciplines.

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                    • #11
                      Irrespective of the broad rights and wrongs, breaking the link between Olympic events and the Diamond League events is a wrong step for me. So unless the plan is to ditch the 5000m for the 3000m at Olympic or Worlds level, that decision alone seems bonkers to me. I can live with 10,000m being an acquired taste for the casual viewer, but 13 minutes of intensity in a 5000m should excite everyone, and even if you're not engaged there'd be plenty on the field to watch at the same time.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ursus View Post
                        On the plus side, there’ll be fewer pacemakers. On the negative side, virtually everything else.

                        All to do with marketing and nothing to do with sport. ...
                        I think athletics should forget about trying to become a mainstream sport across the world. It's not the 1980s anymore when there were very few sports being broadcast live. Nowadays, there's so much choice of sport to watch that athletics is just one of many sports that has to find its niche and realise that's probably where it will stay. As a long-time fan of the sport, I have no problems with that.

                        And it seems to me that athletics viewing and attendance isn't in a bad place. We're always told how impressive the viewing figures were for the latest major championships and the Diamond League itself has 360 million viewers globally. Regarding attendance at meetings, watch any mid-week European circuit meeting and these little stadiums holding maybe 5 or 6 thousand people are often full. In the established markets at least, getting significant numbers of people to watch athletics does not seem to be a problem.

                        But, here's some things they could do to potentially increase the number of fans without messing about with Diamond League meetings in such a drastic way:

                        1. Decrease the time between races on the track. Whilst we hardcore fans like it when there's space for the field events, the majority of new fans will likely care more for track events. I get that athlete introductions need to be made so that fans get to know the athletes and blocks need to be set for the sprints, but there's really no good reason why there should be a 10 minute gap between the Men's 200 and the Women's 800 and then another 8 minute gap before the Men's 400 starts etc.

                        2. Ensure the TV broadcasts are as good as they can be. So, no more lingering shots of the crowd or wide shots from the end of the stadium while there's field events going on. Please, no more just letting the camera follow a runaway leader around in a distance race when there's a much more interesting battle going on for 2nd and 3rd - think the 2016 European Women's 5000 or the 2017 World Women's 10,000 when we saw very little of the much more interesting races behind Can & Ayana respectively. Also, cut down the number of replays. There's no need for 3 or 4 replays from different angles for every race. Show more field events instead.

                        3. Get rid of pacemakers and get back to proper racing. My Dad, who was a casual fan, says he thinks they've spoiled distance running and the tactical aspect has been lost. He can't be the only one who feels this. Yes, times might suffer but the majority of fans woudn't care. They just want to see good racing.
                        Last edited by LuckySpikes; 12-03-19, 13:11.

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                        • #13
                          Presumably the gaps between events are to allow for delays such as false starts - nothing worse from the TV director's perspective than the event not sticking to the timetable. I'm not disagreeing that keeping the gaps small should be an aim, but just recognising that they have to allow for such things.

                          In terms of the pacemakers, where does the pressure come to have them? It seems to me that it often appears to stem from the athletes (or their agents) who want the chance to try to have a fast race, knowing that the big comps will probably not facilitate that. Again, a mix of paced and non-paced events might be the right way forward. Nominate say all men's races to be paced, all women's for the next meeting and vice versa, or have 800m and 3000m paced one week, 1500m paced the next. We want to see races, but I do like to see individual athletes with the talent the chance to have optimal conditions set up for record attempts etc too.

                          I think you're comments about the style of broadcast probably reflect the hardcore fan's view vs the casual. As much as a hardcore fan might find this unappealing, the TV production teams that put on these events know what they are doing and broadly know what the majority of the TV audience are interested in seeing.

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                          • #14
                            Regarding which 2 meetings are to be chopped, they indicated it would be done by using the Competition Performance Rankings (inherited from all-athletics.com).

                            In that case, Stockholm seems a firm candidate to be demoted - in the last 3 years it was ranked 14th, 13th and 13th of the 14 meetings.

                            Others that might be under threat:
                            Rabat - 13th, 12th, 8th
                            Oslo - 12th, 14th, 12th
                            Birmingham - 9th, 10th, 14th

                            Birmingham will need to up its game this year! Rabat will need to continue its upward curve. It doesn't have history on its side. But, I can't even countenance that they'd consider chopping the Bislett Games in Oslo. Such a historic meeting in such a wonderful little, old stadium!

                            Originally posted by larkim View Post
                            ...

                            I think you're comments about the style of broadcast probably reflect the hardcore fan's view vs the casual. As much as a hardcore fan might find this unappealing, the TV production teams that put on these events know what they are doing and broadly know what the majority of the TV audience are interested in seeing.
                            Hmm, I'm not sure that casual fans find watching a spectator eat an ice-cream for 15 seconds preferable to seeing an attempt in the pole vault. And do they really prefer watching someone trot around unchallenged than watch an actual race between 2 or more athletes for 2nd place? By all means, cut back to the leader every so often. But, Formula 1 has got it right - when there's a runaway leader they focus attention on where the interesting battles are.

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                            • #15
                              F1 isn't too strong a comparison though - two cars dicing for 4th / 5th position whilst the leader is off in the distance is markedly different from Ayana solo running to a WR 10000m and then showing the action down the field on lap 14 of a 25 lap race - there's just not the same jeopardy. And when it does get interesting (broadly the last 600m or so at best), the action for the minor placings is much harder to track - and even F1 gives the leader the screen time on their final lap, to the exclusion of mid-field battles which may be taking place as the drivers come to cross the line.

                              I think the ice-cream eating fan bit is probably just to offer the chance to glance away, have a conversation, head out for a cup of tea - action thick and fast for the duration of the programme would probably be very taxing! Even in F1, but also football, rugby, etc the crowd shots are part of the normal TV production approach.

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