Flosports makes a deal with Diamond League;  the real story is about the Diamond League deal.

On April 10, Flosports announced a multi-year deal to host the Diamond League events starting in 2025, with the exception of the NIKE Pre Classic (14 of the 15 Diamond League events). Flosports will also host the World Athletics Continental Tour and World Athletics Indoor Tour events beginning in 2024, exclusive to US-based events.

The social media responses were fast and severe. Almost all the social responses attacked Flosports over their pricing differences between FloSports and Peacock, which comes to about $25 a month.

But truth is stranger sometimes than fiction.

After the press release from Flosports, LetsRun.com did a piece on the move from Peacock to Flosports without speaking with Diamond League spokespeople.

RunBlogRun texted Matthew Quine, Diamond League AG’s communications manager, and Petr Stastny, CEO.

Petr was able to answer a series of questions this morning, Saturday, April 13.

RunBlogRun, #1: Did NBC bid on the Diamond League?

Petr Stastny: To my knowledge, NBC did not make a bid.

RunBlogRun, #2: Diamond League does well on social media, so why not show It via streaming on social media?

Petr Stastny: We have sold the media rights to INFRONT (owned by Wanda, Title sponsor of Diamond League), and there is revenue generated by rights holders.

RunBlogRun, #3: Part of the issue is that NBC and Peacock did not even bid for the contract, which tells us more about their lack of interest in track and field. Are there any issues with NBC?

Petr Stastny: In the last couple of years, NBC has demanded that no Wanda Diamond League content be shown by anyone but NBC for 72 hours. Not even athletes could get legal footage for their channels in North America.

RunBlogRun, #4: I have heard good numbers from Peacock and NBC. Is that true?

Petr Stastny: With a very limited presence on NBC and most of our content behind a paywall already, we decided it was time to change and work with a more agile media outlet.

Femke Bol, Wanda Diamond League
London Athletics Meet
July 23, 2023, London, England, U.K., photo by Kevin Morris

RunBlogRun, #5: Socia Media is complaining about the Flosports cost. Could a sponsor pay Flosports so that fans could watch a broadcast for free?

Petr Stastny: I do not know if that option exists.

RunBlogRun, #6: Can you provide numbers on World Indoors and perhaps Peacock from last year?

Petr Stastny; We do not know about the indoors, but we know that in 2023, the total audience for the 16 days of the WDL in the US was 2.7 million (One Day of the WDL Final in Eugene was shown on NBC). That is far less than, for example, audiences in Norway!

RunBlogRun, #7: Any final comments on this deal?

Petr Stastny: I understand that change is sometimes tricky, but with FloTrack now being the home for all one-day meetings held worldwide, be it the Wanda Diamond League or the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold and NBC for Olympics and Championships, the fans will soon know where to go to.

Final Comments from RunBlogRun:

After texting back and forth with Petr Stastny, I hope our readers see the complexity of this situation.

NBC has had all the opportunities to succeed, but their antiquarian approaches to content and need for control have really caught up with them.

FloTrack/Flosports is an entrepreneurial media company that has landed on the proverbial pot of gold, but only if they figure this out. They could attract a wonderful audience if they offer timely content and promote the Diamond League and World Athletics Continental Tour at a reasonable price.

NBC Sports has done everything possible to dissuade fans from watching track and field. In 2Field, they did not even broadcast the US Outdoor Nationals; in 2024, they only showed one day of the US Outdoor Nationals. NBC provided little promotions, and they could not even compare to the TV audience of Norway! Norway has a population (today) of 5,590,044. The US population? 341,430,136. Oh, come on, NBC!

Nina Kennedy wins the Women’s Pole Vault with a jump of 4.91m in a new meeting record and world lead at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Zurich on 30 Aug 2023, photo by Getty Images for Diamond League.

Track and field is a global sport, and NBC has yet to really understand the audience’s diversity and loyalty when covering the Olympics. Showing DL on Peacock and MSNBC, even on NBC taped and late at night, would have improved the number of people watching in the U.S.

We can not blame Mark Floriani and Flotrack for making the bid. NBC created a vacuum, pouting when they were not celebrated for their half-hearted approach to our sport. Flosports, under Ryan Fenton, a creative and well-respected media professional, will have his hands complete, taking on this robust endeavor.

Another side to this issue is that NBC Sports needs help with track and field at the Olympics. They still need to understand that fans care little for live coverage but want to see clips and interviews when they want to, which can help promote the audience numbers.

For the decades that NBC has tried, honestly tried, to televise track and field, they have met with a national federation lost in the ozone.

USATF has yet to do much to promote events and our athletes. They take credit for their performances, but not since Craig Masback was at the helm of USATF has there been an appreciation of the complexity of modern sports entertainment.

Fans have found it hard to follow the US Championships for many years because they need help figuring out where the broadcast can be found. NBC has used MSNBC and Peacock, and sometimes did not cover events such as the US Championships (2023 outdoor) and as recently as 2024 US Indoor (one day, missing World records), did not cover both days but provided a live Saturday with the Friday events sandwiched in the broadcast.

At the recent LA Grand Prix (May 2023), I witnessed the 100m women’s final, where three lanes were left open on live TV. I also saw the NBC producer, a seasoned TV professional, losing his mind when USATF had no one to fill the lanes on a global TV! That does not happen at high school meets that I have attended.

Faith Kipyegon, Wanda Diamond League Athletics Meeting
Herculis EBS
July 21, 2023, Monaco, photo by Kevin Morris

For track and field to build an audience, people need to know where, when, and how they can watch. European Athletics and World Athletics use social media clips to create interest in the 14-35-year-old audience. At RunBlogRun, promoting meets and events one to two months out makes a lot of sense. That is different from how USATF does it.

We congratulate Flosports on gaining the Diamond League, World Athletics Indoor Tour, and World Athletics Continental Tour coverage beginning in 2024 for World Indoor Tour and Continental Tour. In 2025, Flosports will take over hosting  14 of the 15 of the Wanda Diamond League meetings. They did it the old-fashioned way; they bid on the desired prize.

But please, fans, do not blame Flosports. Do they have to up their game to make these acquisitions a success? Yes. But Flosports should not be blamed for NBC Sports’ lack of a plan.

Flosports press release on Diamond League, World Indoor, and Continental Tour deal

FloSports Inks Multi-Year Rights Agreement With Wanda Diamond League For Robust Track & Field Package 

Letsrun.com feature: How and Why the Diamond League is heading to FloTrack in 2025

https://www.letsrun.com/news/2024/04/how-and-why-the-diamond-league-is-heading-to-flotrack-in-2025/

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