SBJ/January 22 - 28, 2007/This Weeks News

USA Track & Field rolling out extended TV schedule

USA Track & Field will announce its most extensive TV lineup for the sport this week, with more than five network appearances on CBS and NBC, 10 shows on ESPN and ESPN2 and 20 hours on Versus.

“The beat to Beijing is beginning and that’s why this TV lineup is so important,” said USATF CEO Craig Masback. “It’s going to provide a spotlight for the athletes who will be making that event a truly memorable one.”

The Visa Championship, which was created in 1999, remains the centerpiece of track and field programming in 2007, with nine events. NBC’s live coverage of the Prefontaine Classic from Eugene, Ore., on June 10 highlights the coverage, but ESPN2 also will offer live coverage of the 100th Millrose Games on Feb. 2 and the AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on June 22.

Coverage of track will culminate with more than 25 hours of programming on NBC and Versus of the World Track & Field Championships from Osaka, Japan, beginning in late August.

Since 2000, the USATF’s domestic events have made 88 television appearances, 31 of which were on NBC or CBS. Over that period, the sport has averaged a 2.0 rating, according to the USATF.

Past programming for track events were the result of either joint-venture or time-buy agreements, and, according to sources, 2007 is no different.

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