World Athletics' Sebastian Coe calls on sport to work towards attracting younger audiences

Opening an online seminar, Coe underlined the importance of holding the attention of the audience in a complex entertainment landscape

Press Trust of India July 30, 2020 21:52:16 IST
World Athletics' Sebastian Coe calls on sport to work towards attracting younger audiences

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe on Thursday advised the track and field fraternity to work hard to attract a younger audience to the sport.

Opening an online seminar, Coe underlined the importance of holding the attention of the audience in a complex entertainment landscape.

He pointed out that one of the important elements of early research, commissioned by World Athletics, was the finding that 75 per cent of fans wanted a change in the event presentation in stadiums, television and on other screens that they engage.

"It made me realise that it's probably more important now than ever to deliver young fans quality information in a consumable way, whether at the side of grass track or they're sitting in an international stadium.

"The speed with which you can convey that information and bring humour occasionally are pieces of great human interactivity," he said.

"If the experiences we provide them is anything less that they expect, they move on very quickly. Not just to another sport but also out of sport, to music, films and other things," he added.

He noted that the consumption practices of young people "have become a-la-carte".

"The entertainment landscape is so complicated that everybody is fighting for a few minutes of their attention," said the double Olympic gold medallist in 1500m.

Coe, who was recently elected as a member of International Olympic Committee, said the sport was not just about the God-given talents of the athletes.

"It is crucially about the way that the crowd is brought into the tent, to the theatre and actually, on most occasions, be a part of and even maybe the central part of that theatre. That's why today's session (of the seminar) is so important," he said.

Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla said the seminar for the 'announcers and event presentation managers in the modern era' was conceived to make athletics attractive to its fans at all levels.

"AFI has been in the forefront of knowledge up-gradation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This seminar is in keeping with our mission to give the fans a great experience at all levels, from National to district meets," he said.

The seminar, organised by the AFI in partnership with the South Asian Athletics Federation, the Oceania Athletics Association and the European Athletics, was participated by more than 1500 announcers and event presenters from 42 countries.

SAAF President Lalit Bhanot said a correct event presentation was crucial in a commercial world.

"The connect with all spectators has to be established right from the beginning and our attempt is to ensure that all our meets are conducted with this in mind," he said.

President of European Athletics Dobromir Karamarinov and Oceania Athletics Association chief Robin Sapong Eugenio were also present.

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