(Now in the NBA, where there are a ton of games like in track, people are skipping games and that's why few pay attention to the regular season. But I think a DL meet is the equivalent of an NFL regular season game).
And I"m not hating on Centro. There really is no reason to run if you are sick because you will get smoked. It's actually probably a really smart thing to do as you ensure you don't get into a whole and lose a month.
I think we largely need to accept that there are inherent aspects about our sport that make it less popular than others. There is little randomness in track. No fumbles, bad bounces, etc. And there is no financial reason to care about anything but the championships.
The only thing that truly matters are the championships but the "championships are everything" aspect of our sport is what makes USAs/Worlds/Olympics so special.