EXCLUSIVE: Nick Symmonds’ track and field manifesto
"Put on the key events that everybody wants to see: like the men’s 100m, women’s 100m and the Mile."
From SPIKES Magazine
Few current athletes are as keen to stick their head above the parapet as 2013 world 800m silver medalist Nick Symmonds. The U.S. middle-distance star tells SPIKES his big ideas to improve the sport he loves: from alcohol to advertising; and what athletics can learn from the likes of Nascar and tennis.
1) A pint and $5 on Nick Symmonds
"I can only really speak of the U.S. market but I really think alcohol needs to be sold at meets, and also there needs to be gambling. Track is interconnected with the NCAA system [in the U.S.], which does not allow for the sale of alcohol on campus. However, professional track and field in the U.S. needs to be disassociated from amateur track meets.
"If you take a look at most successful U.S. sports like basketball, baseball and football, then alcohol is available at events. As for gambling, if you look at a meeting like Zurich, one of the reasons it is so successful is its on-site gambling.
"Think about track meets. Most are held on an evening after work or a Saturday afternoon when people are on vacation. I’m not saying people need to be shot-gunning beers, but to have a beer is a right that people have.
"I don’t like American football much, it is terribly boring, but if I can have a beer in my hand and a $20 bet on the outcome I’m going to sit until the end and enjoy every minute of it.
"Some people might not like track and field that much, but if they have a beer in their hand and $5 on Nick Symmonds: they will have a great time.
"The sport needs to be marketed not just for the diehard fans, but the person who maybe does not generally like track and field: who wants to come to the meeting because it is like attending a good party.”
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