Robbie Andrews, 2009 Millrose Games, photo by PhotoRun.net
Take the case of the Millrose Games moving to the NB Armory in 2012. That the Millrose Games is much less than its former self is true. That no one group has had control of the meet for most of the last decade is also true-and this has resulted in smaller crowds, a huge break in the meet for sprints and a sports experience that dulls crowds and kills sponsor possibilities.
Global Athletics & Management, for example, were hired to run the meet for several years. From this writer’s view, they were never given the real control needed to a)shake up the meet, b) promote it early enough for sales to increase, and the result was frustration and bad feelings on many sides.
Into this conundrum comes Dr. Norb Sander, NYC marathon winner, and a devoted track geek. Due to Norb’s tenacity, eccentricity, drive and love of the sport (and all of the others involved in the Armory), the NB NYC Armory is a reality and not a dream.
Here is my issue: The Armory is not MSG! The tradition is at Madison Square Gardens. That the owners of MSG have totally negated any chance of the meet management making money is nearly a fact. They keep all of the revenue from food sales. Tickets sales are not promoted, except by word of mouth. That meet management was paying six figures just to use the Wanamaker name for the mile is also true. Poor ticket sales have made it hard for meet management to make money and, even with the support of agents, managers, athletes and the checkbook of USA Track & Field (they kept this meeting going), the Millrose has been slowly dying.
The compromised nature of the management of the meet also kills it! High school, college and univ athletes, families and alum used to come, but now, many don’t even know it continues to go on. Most importantly, the meet is way too long. The break for the sprints is insane, and either they needed to be moved early on or cancelled. In my mind, putting on track meets requires an enlightened dictatorship, democracy be damned here!
The Millrose Games should be the showcase of the sport, but, alas, it has been run into the ground. Frustration abounds, as good people disagree, but with no constructive way to bring warring sides together, the meet and the dreams of another generation of track fans and athletes will be sacrificed.
I like Dr. Norb Sander’s tenacity and yes, eccentricity. He is a good egg, as we would call him in St. Louis (my hometown). And, if the NB NYC Armory hosts the Millrose Games, it will be a fine meet. However, it just will not be the Millrose Games in Madison Square Gardens.
I have two suggestions: The first, a compromise: Millrose College, HS and Youth at NB Armory. MSG then hosts a two and one half hours of elite indoor track, plus HS 4 x400m, HS 4 x 800, and that is it. Sell the tickets as fundraisers for NY high school sports and make it the real showcase of the indoor season. Have one management team, get everyone else out who has different agendas, and make this meet work.
The second suggestion: Let Norb have the Millrose and set up a new meet. Get someone who can negotiate a contract and show MSG that making some money is better than making no money and the negatives that they will receive when the word gets out how they contributed to the death of the hallowed Millrose Games.
Start the New York Indoor Games, run it as an elite meet, start with high and college 4 x 400 and end with hs and college 4 x 800.
While I find it highly unlikely that there can be either a compromise or a change, I sure hope that the powers that be come to their senses.
Natasha Hastings, NB Games, 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net
MILLROSE TO ARMORY
NEW YORK (USA): Officials of the
Armory Foundation, the not-for-profit organization which has the operating
rights to the Millrose Games, confirmed that the 105th edition of the United
States’ oldest indoor track meet would move to the Armory in Upper Manhattan
after more than a century at Madison Square Garden. “The Millrose Games
deserves the best track possible especially in this performance-driven sport
with the London Summer Olympics just around the corner,” said Dr. Norbert
Sander, president of the Millrose Games and the Armory Foundation. “The Armory is just that exceptional place to
compete for professionals, collegiate, and high school stars in the modern
track era.” It is indisputable that the Armory is the central hub of indoor
track and field in the United
The facility, which has undergone $50 million in renovations over the
last 18 years, annually hosts more than 100 track meets, and has hosted over
1000 track meets during that time. The
giant red brick structure in the Washington
boasts a banked 200-meter Mondo track which athletes have praised for it’s fast
surface. Informs Race Results Weekly. The move to the Armory is controversial,
and is not supported by USA Track & Field, which owns the 145.5-meter Mondo
track used at Madison
and had propped the meet up with a direct investment of about 1 million USD
which allowed for the recruitment of elite athletes and bought network
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