Diversifying Coverage

We all know that track and field struggles to get much attention at the levels between high schools and the Olympics. It’s an endemic problem.

I try to do my part to address that problem here, and others reach larger audiences: Track and Field News, Let’s Run, RunnerSpace, Flotrack, Running Times, and so forth. But to a great degree, those websites and publications only talk to our limited clan of track and running fans. We need to expand the pool.

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled onto a blog called Hustle Belt, “for Mid-American Conference fans”. It’s an all-sports blog for the 12-team conference, run under the SB Nation umbrella. I dig the name, a play on the Rust Belt locale of the conference, and I’m an alumnus of MAC member Bowling Green.

I sent a note to the site manager, offering to do a preview of this weekend’s MAC Championships. He readily took me up on it, plus my offer to write a meet recap afterwards. Follow the links and check ‘em out.

I wrote both, something that I could have saved for this space or some other track-centric online outlet. But that wouldn’t have helped address the problem of a too-small circle of fans. Are there people out there who would like track if they just had the right exposure? I’m convinced there are.

So I think I’ll be doing a more or less weekly MAC track and field report for Hustle Belt. Whether they get a lot of traffic that could bleed over here is unimportant to me. It’s going to cut into my time for this website, but that’s not a big deal to me either. My purpose at Hustle Belt is merely to get some football and basketball fans to think of track as a real college sport, to get their attention, and to tell them what and how to watch if they become so inclined.

Hustle Belt is just one of probably hundreds of general-topic college sports blogs out there. Most of them concentrate on just one university, and some of the bigger ones have several blogs. Ohio State appears to have six or so. Maybe you could offer to write a bit for one of them and help them see what track and field has to offer the fan.

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2 Responses to Diversifying Coverage

  1. pjm says:

    This is a really good idea. If collegiate track is the most compelling aspect of the sport in this country, and it’s probably the most marketable, this is one way to sell it. Even if this wasn’t a good idea, the point that we need to be talking to people who aren’t already track fans is one which is not, I think, made often enough.

  2. pjm says:

    Also, I wonder if there’s a way to combine this kind of coverage diversity with the ideas that (a) high school track has huge participation numbers and is THE most vibrant part of the sport in this country, and (b) your assertion, which I agree with, that high school track is best enjoyed at a local or at most state level. (National competition is fun and possibly motivating to the athletes at that level, but it’s too easy to impart more meaning to the results than is really there.) The best high school sites I’ve seen are essentially local in focus, like various section-based sites in New York state. It would be interesting to find ways to incubate and/or promote and/or help those guys out without trying to rope them into some phony “network”.