In a meeting that is being kept secret from the media, among others, the annual Diamond League meetings will take place on Monday in a global financial capital in Europe. Many things on the docket, and while we wish we could be the proverbial fly on the wall, the future of the sport is at stake….So here are five areas of discontent that could be discussed in this meeting.
1. Dentsu and Wanda-Can they play well together? Dentsu is one of the most important media agencies in the world. In order to be transparent, this writer must admit that, while at Runners World in the 1980s, I worked with Dentsu on a magazine project.
Dentsu is old school, relationships are key and Dentsu has relationships. A story goes around an auto sponsor of IAAF, where the deal was done on a Japanese golf course. By the end of the 18 holes, the brand CEO had moved a few million in an advertising account to sponsorship of the IAAF. While we embrace this, we find it fascinating that Dentsu seems unable to work with companies outside of Japan as sponsors.
How will they work with Wanda? Wanda is one of China’s largest companies, and they now have a hold in WWMajors and the IAAF.
2. Who will leave? Now that there is money, who won’t put on a meet?
Now that the DL has money, what will happen? Will they take on Berlin, how about a meet in Asia? Does Wanda want a second DL in China? Will we see ISTAF Berlin in DL? What about a second meet in US? NYC is missed (it just cost way too much).
3. When will the Diamond League understand that they need to support media to keep the sport alive?
Media is in a challenge. With advertising support in crisis, budgets have been cut dramatically, so little travel, and more pieces taken from IAAF Media and LOC releases. This is not adequate coverage of the sport. Being at a meet is much different than watching it remotely.
4. How will they change the meets?
Cutting the 5000m, several field events, and adding three event mini decathlons are up for discussion. The 5k may be ill advised: it could also be added outside the TV window. This is about IMG needing to get the shows to 90-120 minutes. IMG knows its stuff, ( I worked for them 15 years in NCAA program sales). Can the DL truly think out of the box?
5. What is the Diamond League’s biggest assets?
The athletes. The competition. TV done in Doha showed some fun additions. Will we see some of that in DL? How about sending highlights to ESPN, other networks?