Craig Masback's Blog
Number 2 - Sunday, August 26, 2007
Are you watching? If you call yourself a track "fan" but haven't been following the World Championships in Osaka, you have no one to blame but yourself. The coverage of the event is more extensive than any in history, encompassing virtually every kind of media currently in use.
In terms of mainstream traditional media, there is everything from daily two-hour shows on Versus (the old Outdoor Life Network) and three weekend shows on NBC to good coverage by the AP and major city newspapers. A year out from the Olympics, the Worlds represent a good opportunity to begin to bridge the general public toward the Beijing Games.
It's in the area of "new" media where coverage has expanded and "exploded" in 2007. Under an "exploded" media approach to promoting an event or sport, a rightsholder opens the door to those wishing to cover it, encouraging multiple outlets to cover it in their own way instead of limiting coverage to a single entity. Just as USA Track & Field encouraged on-line coverage of events not aired by NBC/ESPN at last June's AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the IAAF and its media partners have taken a very open view to who is doing what to expose the World Championships.
So, over the first two days of events, you could watch every moment live (or via archives) on WCSN (www.wcsn.com) for the very reasonable price of $4.95. The WCSN coverage, which will amount to over 80 hours live, is being supplemented by athlete interviews and behind-the-scenes stories filed by Dave Ungrady, who is literally everywhere in and around Nagai Stadium chasing down stories. WCSN is also featuring athlete blogs from Sanya Richards and Lauryn Williams. More importantly, WCSN.com is sharing highlight footage with USA Track & Field, Yahoo Sports, FOXSports.com, YouTube, and AOL Video. This guarantees an unprecedented ease of access to footage of the meet, including to outlets and people who normally don't see or follow our sport.
If you want live results and feature material, the IAAF is offering their best coverage ever via www.iaaf.org. In addition to official start lists and results, the IAAF has a live blog, podcasts, and video highlights. Larry Eder offers unique insights via www.american-trackandfield.com. Flotrack is here and has offered some fresh interviews of leading athletes, and insiders are offering their perspectives on message boards such as www.letsrun.com and www.trackandfieldnews.com.
It's not all perfect. Like all on-line streaming, there are sometimes issues with the images. Also, if you don't like the way American TV covers track and field, you may be frustrated by the fact that you don't see enough of this event or that. Given the time difference, to watch all of the events live, you may have to change your sleep habits. But, if you have the time and inclination, you could spend pretty much all day and night online or on your couch (or both), watching and reading about the World Championships. It may not be exactly the same thing as sitting in the debilitating heat, wiping a sweaty brow, but in some ways it might be even better.