Diamond League has to change, says World Athletics president Coe

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-21 08:41:23|Editor: yhy
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LONDON, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Despite of the complaints from some top athletes, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe believed that the 10-year-old Diamond League has to change to more appeal to the young audiences.

Last month, World Athletics announced that Diamond League will no longer feature the 200m, 3,000m steeplechase, discus or triple jump at all of its meetings in 2020 season.

"10 years is a long time in the life of any product. Diamond league was 10 years old this year," said Coe last week in an exclusive interview with Xinhua in London. "We looked at it and we thought, actually, it's a good product, but it can be better."

Coe revealed that in some of the cities, the Diamond League meetings were not received well enough, especially by young people.

"The athletes weren't racing enough against each other. And there was less broadcast...And a lot of it was highlights packages. So clearly, it was our responsibility to make sure that we didn't continue to lose a market positioning," said Coe.

"And so in simple terms, they reduce the broadcast window to make sure that we have a faster, pacier event particularly for young people watching. Because these young people see the world in a very different way. We need to make sure that our fans of tomorrow are engaging with the sport," he said.

After doing research on the popularity of the events, Diamond League decided to cut the length of meetings for a 90-minute broadcast window next season and four disciplines were axed from the core list so as not to show in the Final.

This decision inevitably drew criticisms from some elite athletes participating in those events but Coe said that no change could be universally popular.

"Every event will be judged at the end of the year for its popularity, for the amount of broadcast time, for the amount of interest for the social media. These are all the things that we will take into consideration. But it is really important that we changed."

Coe said that Diamond League had run eight years without a sponsor, "the second we started to talk about change and making it a faster pacier format, then we get a sponsor. And there's no coincidence in that".

"We can't be a sport that is innately conservative, and not being prepared to embrace young and new audiences," said Coe.