2011 NB Indoor Grand Prix: the women’s mile, by PhotoRun.net.
On Sunday afternoon, February 6, 2011, from two p.m. to 4 p.m., the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix was televised on ESPN2. Even during the broadcast, RBR was receiving positive comments on the announcing team (Tim Hutchings, Dwight Stones, Ato Boldon, Lewis Johnson), the focus on the races and the interviews with the top athletes.
The NB Indoor Grand Prix was one of the best broadcasts that this writer has seen on U.S. television. It was not merely that the focus was on the middle distance races, and that the men’s 3,000 meters and mile were well-described. It was the comments from Phoebe Wright, pretty much looking for a showdown over 800 meters. It was the one shoed wonder, Dejan Gebremeskel, in the men’s 3,000 meters, battling Mo Farah.
A keen observer of the sport gently reminded me, that as I had given kudos to Global Athletics, New Balance, the agents, managers and athletes, I had been remiss in not mentioning the reason we had a TV broadcast on ESPN2-USA Track & Field!
The TV production for the VISA Indoor Grand Prix series (Millrose, Boston, Albuquerque) and
several of the outdoor meetings (Penn, Nike Pre, USA Outdoor) is all
under the imprimatur of USA Track & Field. Most of these events,
they not only guarantee the TV, they also produce and manage the TV
TV broadcasts cost money. Lots of it. And VISA, as a sponsor, is one of the big contributors to the support of the broadcasts and the VISA championship series.
From the talent to the team to the production values, the TV production
has continued to evolve and improve. The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix
gave not only track fans, but many sports fans, tired of six plus hours
of Superbowl build-up, a chance to watch a real sport (for the record, I
cheered for the Green Bay Packers in a Pittburgh Steelers environ).
What was also gratifying was the turnout of USATF upper echelon, from
Stephanie Hightower, President of USATF, to Mike McNees, acting CEO/COO.
The Marketing team, lead by Ivan Cropper, and the communications squad, lead by Jill Geer, were also obvious in their presence. This shows support of our events. There were times in the past,
especially at this meet, where that did not happen.
One of the groups we forget to mention are the officials, all from the local New England USATF and also the Massachusetts Track Coaches association, who also provide help at the meet. My Sunday morning walk partner, Steve Vaitones, manager of New England USATF, spends indoor season, going from one meet to another. The NB Indoor Grand Prix is one of his favorites.
What I take for granted, for example, is the work and the astute eye of the cameramen and TV production team: they pick each and every shot! Your view of the meet is from the learned eye of a camera operator who has been watching track meets for many years.
Our sport is a success, and can be even more of a success only with the support of all of its living and breathing parts. The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix was a wonderful example, as we start 2011, of all of those parts, and how they come together so well for three hours of sports competition.
For our sport to grow, it needs more eyeballs. Nothing says legitimate
sports like a track meet on ESPN 2 or ESPN, and the New Balance Indoor
Grand Prix broadcast is a great example of the sport working
together..and a tip of the hat to our friends at USA Track & Field.