Paul Koech, Doha 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net
The sweepstakes for the 2019 World Outdoor Athletics Championships are on, and the bidders are Barcelona, Doha and Eugene.
The bids are all quite different, and Barcelona, which was the host of the 1992 Olympic Games, has the support of the LOC and government, in a country that is battling tough economic times and a separatist movement much older and stronger than what we saw in Scotland this past summer.
Doha wants the World Championships very bad. The Qatari government sees the World champs as a very reasonable way to promote their country and promote goodwill. With a new global airport being developed, and hotels going everywhere having an insane price on a cooling unit or units for the World Champs is a small price to pay for this country for global respect. Their biggest issue may be the current world stage, especially in Syria, Iran, Iraq. How many Europeans and North Americans will want to venture to Doha? The support by Qatar of the current Allied program to decimate ISIS or ISIL is a huge barometer change for Qatar (although it remains to be seen how ISIS/ISIL evolves or de-evolves).
Eugene is a curious bid. The World Junior Champs, while being hailed as a huge success, was not in any way a test for the World Championships. Open complaints on availability of an international airport, hotel rooms, and stadium seating 40,000 are only the top challenges to TrackTown USA.
The positives? Autzen Stadium, which could be retrofitted with a track to house the World Champs. A complete rebuilding of Hayward field, funded by the house that Phil Knight has built, and the absolute focus of Vinn Lananna, and the meet management savvy of Mike Reilly should not be discounted. One key observer opined that Nike was willing to spend $50 million to refit Hayward Field to make the event work. The volunteers, and the enthusiasm of the fans are key intangibles for the Eugene bid.
The intangibles? The IAAF has recently signed an extension with Dentsu as its global marketing agency. This agency is responsible for sponsorship contracts and advertising. Most of the current sponsors are Japan based sponsors, with adidas being the major European sponsor. Dentsu has not seemed to have any luck bringing in American companies into the IAAF.
For the IAAF to grow, a complete change in approach to presenting meets, athletes and our sport needs to be accomplished.
The IAAF can change. Their approach to media, social media and content has given them a website second to none in the sports federation sweepstakes. That was the result of many people and interests working together for a common goal: promoting our sport.
The lack of terrestrial television, make that free terrestrial television (where in North America, less than 1 in five Americans have access to Diamond League), hurts global athletics. Cable TV is not available to everyone. Streaming video is key for 14-29 crowd, and track meets, anytime on mobile units is key as well.
I am an optimist.
I want to see our sport grow, and see all three sites with positive reasons to host a World Championships. It is, however, important for global athletics to thrive, that a World Championships be hosted in the United States. The IAAF will have to take a deep breath and just improvise on some things, but, in the end, a World Champs in the US in the next five to six years makes a ton of sense.
Eugene bids for 2019
INDIANAPOLIS (USA): USA Track & Field and TrackTown USA this week officially submitted a bid for the 2019 IAAF World Championships, proposing Eugene, Oregon, as the host for the sport’s largest and most prestigious stand-alone event. Informs USATF. The bid is the next step in an active two years for USATF and TrackTown USA on the international level. “As one of the most successful federations on the track, USATF considers it a duty and an honor to be active in hosting the IAAF, its competitions, and fellow federations,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said. “We have worked actively with the IAAF and TrackTown USA for nearly two years to ensure we are able to put forth a bid that will elevate the profile of track & field internationally as well as in the United States. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with TrackTown USA to present this bid.” The IAAF Evaluation Commission will make site visits to each city in late October to verify their bid proposals. “The state of Oregon’s unrivaled fan base creates a special atmosphere when they fill the grandstands for the great competitions hosted on the beautiful University of Oregon campus. The rich tradition and history of TrackTown USA and Hayward Field make for an ideal and authentic global platform to stage this fantastic event,” said TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna.
Doha with 100 m video wall
DOHA (QAT): Doha released details of its bid to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships as it was officially confirmed that they will face Barcelona and Eugene. All three cities met IAAF deadline for submitting their Candidature Files. The Khalifa International Stadium, which hosted the 2006 Asian Games and is the centre piece of Doha’s Aspire Zone, is currently in the process of a redevelopment project to make, what Qatar officials claim, will be the most state-of-the-art purpose-built athletics arena in the world. Doha’s vision includes working with the IAAF to research innovative new solutions for competition timing, scoring, measurement and television production, using the latest technology. There are already plans for the Stadium to feature a world-first 100 metre long video wall-screen that will revolutionise spectator viewing by redefining the replay experience and allowing coverage of multiple events and scoreboards to be viewed simultaneously, creating a unique experience for spectators. “Doha 2019 presents an excellent opportunity to connect athletics with an untapped market and inspire more young people across the region to choose athletics as their number one sport,” said Dahlan Al Hamad, President of the Qatar Athletics Federation and one of IAAF Vice Presidents. The Anti-Doping Laboratory Qatar, the first of its kind in the region, located less than 500 m from the Stadium’s doping control room, would be in charge of analysing drug samples taken during the Championships. Dates of when the Championships will be held have not been revealed, but it is likely to be September again, the same period they proposed for 2017. Informs insidethegames.