USATF, NBC Officials Happy With Results From Live Broadcast Of Marathon Trials
The U.S. Olympic marathon trials from L.A. on Saturday drew a 0.9 overnight rating on NBC, pleasing both USA Track & Field and NBC officials who were not sure what to expect in the first live broadcast of the event. USATF CEO Max Siegel said, “I am very pleased with the ratings. The storytelling was outstanding, the racing was compelling. The feedback we have been getting from fans and stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive.” Marathons are not traditionally strong television properties, but the explosion of distance running as a participatory sport has bled over into increased spectator interest. During its ESPN2 national broadcasts, the TCS N.Y. Marathon typically registers around a 0.5. NBC Olympics Exec VP/Programming Peter Diamond said, "The increased exposure of the event helps us build the story lines of these great athletes as we head to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.” In order to accommodate a national TV audience, the trials race started at 1:00pm ET (10:00am locally), which exacerbated unseasonably warm weather in L.A. Third-place women’s finisher Shalane Flanagan was treated for heat-related illness. Siegel said the USATF followed American College of Sports Medicine heat guidelines, and the heat and humidity were far short of levels that would have forced the race to be cancelled under those guidelines. The conditions were comparable to the expected conditions in Rio, he said. The men’s race was won by first-time marathoner Galen Rupp, and 40-year-old fan favorite Meb Keflezighi made another Olympic team by finishing second. Amy Cragg won the women’s race after encouraging Flanagan, who struggled in the final miles but still qualified. Desiree Linden and Jared Ward also made the teams.