World Athletics President to Adopt Successful F1 Strategy to Increase Viewership and Popularity

Published 12/20/2021, 9:00 AM EST
BEIJING – AUGUST 20: Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacts after breaking the world record with a time of 19.30 to win the gold medal in the Men’s 200m Final ahead of Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilles Brian Dzingai of Zimbabwe and Shawn Crawford of the United States at the National Stadium during Day 12 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 20, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)


When Netflix released ‘Formula One Drive to Survive,’ it bagged the interest of many non-F1 fans. Similarly, ‘Queen’s Gambit’ helped chess streamers and other chess learning apps to see a surge in consumers. Hence, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has a similar idea that he believes will ensure the growth and betterment of the sport in the future.

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If provided with better telecast and exposure, the World Athletics president thinks the sport can grow to the popularity of sports like Formula One.

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World Athletics president reveals a new idea

Similar to F1, Coe talked about the sport needing more followers, given the excitement it can provide. In the show, drivers and race engineers get into the finer details of the car, explaining the building process of those cars, while drivers talk about their preparations. Thus, if a documentary based on Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s career or on Sha’Carri Richardson’s preparations ahead of Paris 2024 is to be shot, fans would witness a never seen before side of the sport. Coe revealed how it would increase the popularity amongst the masses.

“You need to have an emotional connection between fans & competitors. I think that’s what Formula 1 has done well & that’s certainly what athletics is going to be focusing on in the coming years,” said Coe.

Undoubtedly, a documentary featuring the top athletes of the world would fetch unprecedented views. With different OTT platforms available, many directors are entering a new era of cinema. Moreover, with the pandemic indoors, content released on different streaming platforms is seeing companies boast about the increase in viewership.

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Michael Johnson thinks the same

Former legendary sprinter, Michael Johnson thinks the idea is surely a step forward. With in-depth analysis from sprinters and other coaches, it will make for an insightful watch. However, Johnson is doubtful, given the rules and policies that can prevent this from happening. Hence, he expressed his concerns.

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“This could definitely help bring new fans and help people better understand a very complex sport. But only if done right. Unfortunately WA doesn’t have a good track record in this department. But I would love to see it done right,” said Johnson.

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To sum up, a fan-documentary series on athletics will surely be a treat to watch. However, as Johnson mentioned, do you think WA will allow cameras to capture the sport, unfiltered?

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Jacob Gijy

798 articles

Jacob Gijy is a US Sports and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the center the respect he deserves.

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