March 25, 2004 at 1:49 pm #1338
To all of those who say running is a boring sport for spectators, running will never draw fans, all I can say is read this and decide for yourself (I already posted this on Running News)…
Thousands crowded the main streets of Addis Ababa and National stadium yesterday to welcome Ethiopia’s team from a most successful campaign at the 32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Brussels, Belgium.
Nearly two-million people took to the main Meskel Square four years ago when the team returned from the Sydney Olympics. And most recently, a similar ceremony was held in September last year to welcome the Ethiopian team from a successful outing at the 9th IAAF World Championships in Paris, where the country finished third in medals table with eight medals- three gold, three silver, and two bronze.
Just two million people welcoming back their Olympians in 2000. That’s not a good fan base or anything. I’m sure most of those two million people think running is very boring to watch, they just wanted to see why those ten people were out on the street and what they were anxiously waiting for.
March 25, 2004 at 2:00 pm #13912
ZekeMemberRyan wrote:To all of those who say running is a boring sport for spectators, running will never draw fans, all I can say is read this and decide for yourself (I already posted this on Running News)…
I didn’t realize that we need to clarify our statements with “in the United States.”
March 25, 2004 at 2:40 pm #13913
If it can be popular enough elsewhere to draw 2 million people to the streets to welcome home their athletes, it’s still hard to believe that it can’t at least gain some popularity here. Of course, that would require real coverage of real competition, which may be too much to ask the American press for.
March 25, 2004 at 3:08 pm #13914
ZekeMemberRyan wrote:Of course, that would require real coverage of real competition, which may be too much to ask the American press for.
Do you think the NBC of Ethopia is covering the World X-C meet and everyone in the country is sitting around their 32″ TVs watching the meet live?
When looking at the U.S. and Ethiopia, you’re not comparing apples to apples. Look at the size of the countries, the population, the average income, etc. Then thow in that the U.S. has football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, swimming & diving, volleyball, NASCAR and on and on. What other things are there to do with our entertainment dollars? Movies, plays, vacations, concerts, etc. What do the Ethiopia’s have? Running and soccer? Anything else?
Americans don’t care about enduance sports. “We” want the controversial sprinters talking trash and the special interests stories.
March 25, 2004 at 3:38 pm #13915Zeke wrote:“We” want the controversial sprinters talking trash and the special interests stories.
Who decides that “we” want the special interest stories? Everyone, runner and non-runner, I talk to says that, if they were to watch running on TV, they would rather do without the special interest stories and instead watch the actual competition.
March 25, 2004 at 7:01 pm #13916
what seems to be at issue is “choice” … those people in Ethiopia are running fans because ‘all they have is running and soccer’… well America is given a choice too… basketball, football, baseball, NASCAR even figure skating…all are shown on TV.. and yes, those trash talking sprinters…
distance running? ranks right up there with equestrian sports (horses) and I’m not including the Kentucky Derby or rodeos… some sports just never get coverage… why… I think there is too much individual work involved for the amount of excitement shown… at least there is some danger involved with horses…
I would think too many Americans can’t understand the dedication to a sport that to most looks boring 🙄 … it doesn’t even look difficult or dangerous… but that’s because most people wouldn’t DRIVE 26 miles, they’ll cruise the parking lot so they don’t have to walk an extra 26 steps…
cross-country skiing, biathalon… lots of sports have more excitement and remain almost unknown on American TV… how about the young guy who won the gold for archery at the last summer Olympics… anyone even remember his name? ever see archery on TV?
so I guess I have two points, we’re not alone in being ignored by the media… and it’s difficult to get a fan base when the media ignores the sport… it’s a shame the millions who have ever run or thought they might like to run can’t be grabbed by the media… easier to sell beer to people who want to watch cars go fast and crash when they don’t make the turn…
March 27, 2004 at 6:40 pm #13917
magpieMemberZeke wrote:When looking at the U.S. and Ethiopia, you’re not comparing apples to apples.
Yep, two entirely different cultures and Ethiopia basically has no other sports — when was the last time their soccer team(s) performed well on the international stage, or even reached it?
Bob Kennedy was in town right before US XC champs, and an Ethiopian friend of mine saw him after a run out at the rez and talked to him. I bet that less than 10% of the people who saw him in this area, a running mecca, even recognized him. Hell, I passed him on a run one evening and did not recognize him — it was dusk, though, so I could not see that well and he and the pair he was with had on a bunch of cold-weather gear. Now that I think about it, Alan Webb could have been one of the guys with him.
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