SBD/7/Events Attractions

TRACK AND FIELD ASSOCIATION DEBUTS TO MIXED RESULTS

          The Track and Field Association (TFA) held its first
     and only meet this year at N.Y.'s 12,000-seat Mitchel
     Athletic Complex yesterday, and was designed to "encourage
     athletes, television networks and corporate sponsors to sign
     up for the future," according to Frank Litsky of the N.Y.
     TIMES.  While the attendance was "generously announced" at
     3,184, the athletes "said they were inspired by the crowd's
     enthusiasm" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/7).  In Philadelphia, Ron Reid
     writes that the debut meet was "a worthy show, even if only
     3,184 spectators turned out" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/7). 
     In DC, Amy Shipley writes that some of those in attendance
     were "lured in with free tickets," with most of the events
     "squeezed" into a 90-minute broadcast, time which the TFA
     had purchased from ESPN.  The event's promoter "estimated
     the day's financial losses totaled about" $1.5M, and TFA
     Founder & CEO Brian Vandenberg stated that he and other
     investors in the ProChampionships "are prepared to lose more
     than" $10M over the next four years.  Vandenberg: "We made a
     conscious decision: Let's build this as a business and do it
     right" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/7).  Vandenberg said that he was
     "thrilled" with the event, adding: "Today was just a glimpse
     of what we're trying to do."  But in Boston, Barbara Huebner
     writes that "whether track and field, languishing as a
     spectator sport in the U.S., was a winner remains to be
     seen" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/7).  In L.A., J.A. Adande notes the
     varied sports competition in N.Y. during the weekend and
     writes the TFA "picked a heck of a weekend to start." 
     Adande: "The TFA has itself to blame for the location.  CEO
     Brian Vandenberg said the group wanted a major market, but
     it would have been better off in a city that would make it
     the headline attraction" (L.A. TIMES, 6/7).

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