Diamond League cuts eight disciplines for 2020 season
Updated: Dec 21, 2019
Yesterday the IAAF announced it was cutting eight disciplines from the core program of the 2020 Diamond League season to cater to a 90-minute broadcast window.
I can’t help thinking this is extremely short-sighted. I totally understand that they want to cater for broadcasters - their main source of income - but this move completely undermines the credibility of their events and provides less value-for-money for fans in the stadiums.
Athletes have been quick to criticise the move too with a union formed by American two-time Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor to "fight for athletes' rights." The Athletics Association has been backed by several of the sports biggest names.
The worrying thing for fans, athletes and commercial partners is that the IAAF appear to still be using traditional viewing sources (TV) as the key basis for the decision, despite the fact that viewership is failing on this platform and the average audience age increases. It’s also proven to be an ineffective way of reaching new and younger audiences, who are engaging primarily via digital mediums.
Surely with more effective scheduling they could load the most popular events in to the broadcast window and make the less popular events available on additional services? Most broadcasters are content-hungry and have catch-up services and/or the ability to host additional streams, so why not make the events available?
Better still, use the opportunity to launch an IAAF OTT service that has a USP of being the only place to watch every single IAAF event from start-to-finish.