During the next week, the IAAF evaluation committee will be visiting both London (Oct 3-4), and Doha (Oct 5-6). Now is the time for both candidate cities to shine. The decision on the 2017 World Championships bid will be made in Monaco, on November 11.
In light of that this evaluation visit, the London Legacy company for 2012, has guaranteed both the IAAF and London 2012 that the sport of athletics will be held in the Olympic stadium, per an exclusive feature on the website, www.insidethegames.biz.
The guarantee was the support that Sebastian Coe needs to put his team's bid in the best light. Great Britain has been involved in three bids to host the World Championships: 2005, 2015 and now 2017. Their successful bid with the 2012 London Olympics should not be underestimated in this process. However, while past bids have been an issue with the IAAF, all indications are that this bidding process has both bid cities pretty even at the start of the evaluation visits.
Doha, which successfully hosted the World Indoor Champs in 2010, wants to move the 2017 championships event to later in the season, so as to afford the athletes cooler weather. The World Champs in 2010 were hosted well, and the crowd, while not large, was very appreciative. The IAAF does like, it should be noted, taking the sport to new venues.
At this time, the winner of the 2017 bid is anyone's guess. It really depends on what the IAAF wants to demonstrate by its decision: bringing sports to a new corner of the world with an outdoor championships, or providing the sport the promotion it so desperately needs in one of the media and financial capitals of the world and the virtual birthplace of the sport of athletics. Both can have good arguments, and both will be heard, many times, over the next few weeks.
2017 comes at a critical time for the sport. While there have been successful championships (Daegu, in my opinion was tremendous), there are issues between the IAAF and various constituencies: how to grow the sport? how to modernize the sport? How to keep Europe active and interested in athletics as Africa and Asia continue to grow.
The major theme, however, has not been touched: modern media: print, digital, social media is transforming the sport. The IAAF site, and world championship coverage from the IAAF, gave virtually anyone who wanted live results, stories, video, audio could have it. It was very hard, however, for north Americans and Europeans to watch the World Champs live, and
that is why, among some other reasons, why many key advertisers can not take that leap to partnering with
How does the IAAF bring together some of the best talents in those areas to propagate the sport? That is a challenge that can be successfully accomplished, but will take some work in many corners over the next few years. For our sport to grow, it needs marketing, promotions and media. (It also needs stars. We have those.)
To build the sport, the IAAF needs money. Dentsu, marketing partner, has been successful with several global partners. However, not one U.S. based company has been brought in as a partner, and global partners with US subsidiaries do not seem to understand the opportunities afforded them by tying into a world sport or global championships.
Those challenges are what face us as the IAAF looks to the future of our sport. So who will be the 2017 host? We will wait six weeks to really see!
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To see the Doha 2017 site, please click on
To see the London 2017 site, please click on http://www.london2017athletics.com/