Showing posts with label coverage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coverage. Show all posts

Sunday, March 17, 2013

NYC Half coverage: it's time to give me the mic

image courtesy of
Today's run (treadmill): 4.25 miles

Last year, NBC surprised me by actually covering the NYC Half Marathon. Running is so invisible on television that I'm thrilled whenever it is shown. Still, I was critical of the 2012 broadcast because the NBC folks failed to make the event interesting for viewers. It so happened that both the men and women's races featured two runners fighting it out for the win, while the rest of the field followed far behind. NBC had a chance to cover the experience of fifteen thousand people, but it barely covered four.

This year, it was the local ABC affiliate that covered the race. I was hoping that, this time, the focus would be on the event, not just the lead runners. Unfortunately, channel 7's execution was just as disappointing as last year's. Races like the NYC Half are rare, because they are both a spectator event and a shared experience. If there were 15K people on the course, there were undoubtedly more than 100K friends and relatives looking for them during the race. Not only were 99.99% of participants ignored, the elite runners who finished second and third were barely acknowledged.

I thought about the race as I ran my distance on the treadmill this morning. With so many knowledgeable people writing for running magazines, websites and blogs, the opportunity to hire compelling broadcasters is there. Think about the level of detail and background that's provided by qualified announcers for every MLB, NBA and NFL game. Today's race announcers were so inept, they didn't even know the names of the two elite women who were bearing down on eventual winner Caroline Rotich as they approached the finish line.  

Running will never gain traction on television unless the networks commit to treating the sport like an event, instead of a news story. People won't tune in if the coverage is dull and the focus is so narrow that they'd be better off skipping the broadcast and waiting for the recap to be published. If channel 7 had given me the mic this morning, I would have done it a whole lot differently.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ambivelent about today's coverage of the NY Half

Today's run (street): 4.5 miles

I was pleasantly surprised to when I turned on the news this morning to see that our local ABC channel  was actually covering today's New York Road Runner's Half Marathon. Running of this type is rarely televised (besides the ING NY Marathon), so it's always exciting when these events are broadcast.

The good news is that ABC stepped up and featured the race. The bad news is the way they covered it. Besides some very short features and interviews with a few US runners who were competing, very little information was given about the other elites who were also competing. My biggest frustration came for the race broadcast itself, both the men's and women's races were early breakaways between two runners. ABC chose to stay with those four, virtually ignoring the other elites who were grouped 30 seconds behind.

ABC also put up very little information about paces and splits, and when they did, they confused the women's numbers with the men's. After an hour of watching Peter Kirui battle it out with Deriba Merga and Kim Smith run shoulder to shoulder with Firehiwot Dado, I learned virtually nothing about them as people. They failed to give viewers a reason to care about the competitors. That may be a reason why running is so invisible as a broadcast sport.

Inspired by the watching the NY Half, I got outside for four and a half easy miles. The temperature was a cool 40 degrees when I started, but the weather got warmer throughout my run. I regretted wearing pants instead of running shorts and I was sweating hard by the time I finished. The run itself was extremely easy, my pace was a full minute slower than yesterday's run at Bethpage.

Tomorrow I'll rest and then I'll need to figure out my workweek running. I have a lot going on next week and I may need to skip one or two runs. No matter if I do, I plan to do some speed work next weekend and another long base run. Watching the half marathon this morning reminded me how long 13.1 miles will be.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why is running so media invisible?

I watched some of the Brooks PR Invitational last night. The entire event, consisting of top high school age runners, was streamed live on FloTrack. It was a fairly low tech, low fidelity presentation, but I appreciated having an opportunity to see this competition. The two events that I watched were the women's and men's 2-mile races and both ended with exciting finishes.

Watching this coverage made me realize how rare it is to see live running competition either on television or on the web. Flipping through my cable stations on the weekend provides multiple opportunities to watch (depending on season) basketball, football, baseball and hockey. In addition there are many programs dedicated to fishing, hunting, extreme sports, surfing, tennis and even hiking. But the only running I ever see is the YES Network program ("Running") that is updated monthly, at best.

With over 20 million people in the US who consider themselves runners, I'm surprised how hard it is to find coverage of the sport. Perhaps it's because running is an activity where people prefer to participate rather than watch. More likely, it's difficult to capture the feeling of a race on a TV screen. But I'd think that a sport that generates over $5 billion in industry revenue can probably support at least one cable channel.

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