For the past decade, track and field "has competed with
baseball for the title of most-inept sports marketer," according
to Roger Thurow of the WALL STREET JOURNAL.  But recently the
sport has made an attempt at increased exposure and after the
U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be broadcast by ESPN and NBC, and
the Olympics, track and field will enjoy "its greatest exposure
in the U.S. since the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984."  The
question, Thurow writes, is "can track and field stay hot in
America?"  Nike spokesperson Tom Feuer:  "This is the one thing
that worries all of us:  Where does track and field in the U.S.
go after the Olympics?  We probably won't have the Olympics back
in the States for another 30 or 40 years."   To appeal to a wider
audience, USA Track and Field studied the marketing techniques of
the NBA, NFL and NHL, this winter bought afternoon time slots on
NBC and began shortening competitions to a few hours rather than
"all-day affairs."  Mostly, however, the sport "is pinning its
future on the creation of genuine pop icons -- from these
Olympics" like Michael Johnson, Dan O'Brien and Carl Lewis.
Ollan Cassell, Exec Dir of USA Track and Field:  "Heroes.  Our
aim is to create heroes out of the athletes and set up head-to-
head competition, have two or three athletes that are world class
going up against each other" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/14).
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ESPN, NBA, NBC, NFL, NHL, Nike, Olympics, Walt Disney

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