Running on Empathy wrote:
Mr. Nick also is ignoring one of the sports biggest drawbacks - meets for the most part are roughly 95% boredom and 5% action, and many events are unrelatable to the Average Joe. Some of the more radical changes that have been discussed here which would improve the rate of fan interest would include:
I just have to comment on this part - so are a lot of other sports that induce lots of betting and public interest, such as horse racing and baseball.
For obvious reasons, horse racing is the closest example we can use, but the main takeaway is that the structure of the meets would need to change - the excitement for the bigger races would be fine to attract people, but to attract the masses, you need all the heats for the people that don't qualify for the main event. The field events don't need to go, they just offer a different competition somebody could bet on - some people prefer the "take-turn" events to bet on vs. the continuous race. For 10k races, if kept on the track could allow for 1st half vs 2nd half bets, obvious lines could be made for favorites - either, or both, odds bets could be created and performance times could be created (although by doing times, this would allow for easier corruption and throwing of lines) - but betting that competitor X (the favorite) wins by z seconds/meters/etc over competitor Y a la lines would work.
I think this is an awesome idea - it would work similarly to horse racing as well, a few major events throughout the competition year generate a ridiculous amount of interest, while smaller, more locally reasonable events drive the true money behind the competitions from all the "off-track" betting and gambling interest in the sport.