Kevin Mangan wrote his thoughts on Eugene not being the right place for a World Champs and received some strong interest. So, in the flavor of SNL’s Point/Counterpoint, I wrote a piece suggesting that Eugene is the perfect place.
Is Eugene too small to host World Outdoors?, by Kevin Mangan/ATF
TrackTown USA, great for what it is, but too small for the IAAF World Championships, note by Kevin Mangan
I think it’s great that somebody is finally taking the initiative to try to bring the IAAF Outdoor World Championships to America. However, I don’t think Eugene, Oregon is the greatest place to play host to the entire world. If you look at the list of cities that have hosted the World Championships, they all have massive population bases surrounding them and are prominent cities known throughout the world.
Cities like Paris, Tokyo, Athens, Rome and Berlin have hosted in the past, and I think more Americans have heard of these cities than Eugene.
Eugene is a fantastic place to watch a track meet, one of the best I have ever been to. Hayward Field is a great place to host the NCAA Championships and Olympic Trials and will do an excellent job with World Juniors next summer. But let’s not pretend Eugene is a prominent, internationally renowned metropolitan city, because it’s just not.
Poland can get away with hosting World Indoors in Sopot, but if you asked the Polish federation brass if they would host World Outdoors in Sopot, even if there was a sufficient stadium, they would probably say absolutely not. They would host in Krakow or Warsaw or Poznan or Lodz or Wroclaw or something that actually appears on a national map. The equivalent of those cities in America would be New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Dallas.
The Eugene-Springfield metro area is the 144th largest in America. There are 14 cities in America who have more people in their metro areas than the entire state of Oregon’s 3.9 million residents.
USATF, I implore you to try to host the World Championships in 2019 or 2021 and to have it in a city that someone from London, Lviv, Laos, Lagos, Lima or even Los Angeles actually knows exists.
Maybe, just maybe, Eugene, Oregon is just right for the World Championships? by Larry Eder/RBR
I have been to nine outdoor world championships and three world indoors. I love them. The celebration of our sport, the chance to see other cultures and cities, are all part of the fun that makes the events a success.
I can not think of any World Champs that I did not like. Have I had frustrations? Yes, and most of those were at the larger cities of the world, with traffic being the top complaint.
But the truth is, maybe, just maybe that the same reason my colleague, Kevin Mangan is concerned about Eugene, is the reason that it just might work?
The first complaint from media each and every world champs is that the stadium is not full. It was only in London in 2012 at the Olympics where the stadium was full. Moscow was halfway full, but the truth is, putting a World Champs in a world major city makes it harder to stand out.
A world champs in Eugene means that fans can fly into Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and see the West Coast of the United States. A world champs in Eugene means that the stadium will be full, and a world champs in Eugene means that a major sponsor, Nike, could use its clout and creativity to make the World Champs a memorable event.
But, even in my rosy world, there are issues. How does the IAAF juggle a worlds in US where Nike is big sponsor with adidas as IAAF sponsor? Does adidas sit back and let Nike get the branding kudos?
No matter where the World Champs would be held in the US, the IAAF must make some concessions, some that they have not been willing to make in the past. However, the prize is so large, the chance of showcasing the sport in the country that supplies more of the top athletes globally than any other country, the chance for US global sponsors and the chance to build the prestige of the sport in the sports mad U.S.
Eugene is the smaller matter, in my opinion. The real challenge will be for the IAAF to compromise on several large positions that they have held to allow the U.S. to host a world champs?
I, for one, hope that they do really give the US a chance to host the outdoor World Champs. We shall just have to wait.
#eugene or not eugene?