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Discussion: TV sports for geeks

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 20, 2021 11:45 PM # 
I realize that all TV friendly sports have fixed playground or predetirminated course (bball, rugby, golf, skiing, athletics, F1, swimming, biathlon, TrailO, etc)

Is there hope for any sport using nature, city, sea or sky to become a TV friendly sport? Is orienteering already on Mount Everest?
Feb 21, 2021 1:51 AM # 
Feb 21, 2021 2:18 AM # 
Sailing. Or (something completely different) America's Cup
Feb 21, 2021 2:41 AM # 
Well, sailing these days is a fixed course, I guess you do get to choose your tacks, but you have to
go around fixed points, sort of like orienteering I guess.
Feb 21, 2021 3:28 AM # 
Why "geeks"?

Was there something geeky about Eco-Challenge that millions of people watched in 2020? That Ryan Atkins looked geeky, even though his teammates wore o-tights.
Feb 21, 2021 6:59 AM # 
You'd hardly call traditional sailing races - including America'a cup - tv friendly, they're a bit like watching grass grow. To make them more attractive to tv, they invented shorter courses in confined spaces (like a harbour), just like sprint orienteering, really. But it hasn't really attracted much of an audience.

Surfing is great to watch, and could make great tv, but competition results are subjective, and often competitions are held in poor surf, so I disagree that they (competitions) are tv-friendly. If you got the top surfers to go out in pumping big waves and do their own thing, that would be tv-friendly.
Feb 21, 2021 7:11 AM # 
I dont have a tv simmo, but havent they invented some sort of graphics that makes the grass grow more excitingly?
Feb 21, 2021 8:04 AM # 
No lawn at my place gruver, but I have friends who say that grass already grows too quickly - don't want to miss out on orienteering because the lawn needs mowing.
Feb 21, 2021 8:42 AM # 
Purely an analogy simmo. An animation system could be taylor-made for orienteering.
Feb 21, 2021 11:54 AM # 
@Gruver, it does. It's called GPS tracking.

Another sport to add to the discussion is Mountain Biking. They constrain the course but it's still in natural terrain...
Feb 21, 2021 2:36 PM # 
I think the most likely to ever make it would be city sprint, but probably not exactly in the current format. You would need a ton of cameras to see all of the controls and the most likely route choices, plus some mounted on drones. Only have 1-3 runners out at a time to make it easier to follow, and have a very good announcer who can bring energy and enthusiasm to the commentary. Possibly play some upbeat music underneath at times. Have a clock running on screen for each competitor, and after the first person is done, put the time to beat down in the corner. In between runners you can put the standings up, do short interviews, or show comparisons between runners using map snippets with GPS tracks. I think you basically have to create the atmosphere of one of those obstacle course/ninja warrior type game shows if you want to appeal to a wide audience.
Feb 21, 2021 2:37 PM # 
Surfing... something new to me. How fun is to watch suring comparing to sport climbing?

For my taste sport climbing should fit in perfectly. It could be indoor or outdoor event but as a viewer you can see athletes from the start to the finish and you can get a good understanding of how they try to solve the best route through the whole course. I think it will be a huge success in Tokyo.

In some way very similar concept to orieentering but more action in shorter time. Endless route choice discussions before the start and during the competition. Also constant comparision of different approaches how to tackle the course. Excitement, agility and strenght is part of athlete's performance.

I think orieentering almost has all this. Maybe all we need is to have a Final event for let say best 15 runners so focus on each runner is longer and more detailed through the course.
Feb 21, 2021 3:47 PM # 
Pink Socks:
About Eco Challenge... where do you reckon adventure racing would rank among all sports in terms of TV viewership in North America in 2020? It's gotta be relatively high, right? Top 20?
Feb 21, 2021 10:05 PM # 
I don't know about other people but I love watching orienteering on TV or on the computer when most of the time I can watch those little icons/avatars/ flags move across the map with only the occasional flip to a live shot in the woods. Best with mass-start races.
Mountain biking and XC skiing would be so much more attractive to me if they used the same type of perspective so we could visualize someone as being so far ahead or behind.
Feb 21, 2021 10:47 PM # 
Agree with #gordhun . O-TV the way it is produced in Scandinavia is exciting. Especially if you know someone in the race.
Feb 21, 2021 10:54 PM # 
> How fun is to watch surfing comparing to sport climbing?
Depends on the sport climbing discipline. Speed climbing is too fast to appreciate anything. Blink and its over.
Feb 21, 2021 11:33 PM # 
I agree for sprint climbing but lead climbing and bouldering is fun to watch.
Feb 22, 2021 12:15 AM # 
Is orienteering-on-TV intended for current orienteers, or as a way to reach potential new orienteers?
Feb 22, 2021 12:55 AM # 
Just like every other sport, orienteering on TV is for current orienteers and their fans. Does anyone anywhere watch hockey or football (either kind), golf, horse racing, rugby or any other sport and decide 'gee I would like to try that'.
No they watch for entertainment or perhaps to live vicariously though those in the TV production.
Some decades ago I asked a Toronto based sports writer how orienteering could get more media attention. He responded that if a terrorist group shot up an event in Finland then orienteering would get more attention. News media respond to news.
Feb 22, 2021 2:03 AM # 
football (either kind)

There are only two?
Feb 22, 2021 3:06 AM # 
That's the thing. Most sports on TV are shown for people who watch the sport, not those who participate in it. There are millions of people who watch football but don't play it themselves. The same for most big TV sports, if you want tio attract the advertisers, you need to deliver the couch potatoes. But there are precious few who want to watch orienteering, who are not themselves orienteers. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case even in Scandinavia.
Feb 22, 2021 3:52 AM # 

Here is the presentation from the Norwegian broadcaster after WOC 2019. Sorry it is all in Norwegian.
The most interesting slides for any broadcaster is probably #15. It shows the number of viewers for the nine largest Norwegian TV channels. Orange is NRK1 showing orienteering (interupted by news at 7). Also notice how many swithces to NRK2 (yellow) when the orienteering changes channel during the news. Between 30 and 35% of TV viewers follow orienteering. @jjcote: orienteerign is a fairlly large sport in Scandinavia, but nowhere near these numbers.

Slide # 9 and 10 are also interesting in this forum. It shows how TV producers are looking at making orienteering an even better TV sport.
Feb 22, 2021 4:19 AM # 
BOM, It would be nice if you would identify yourself.
Feb 22, 2021 5:06 AM # 
He (or she) predicts the weather.
Feb 22, 2021 7:01 AM # 
As the podcast in another thread tells us, everyone in Norway (and Sweden) gets to do orienteering in school. I would suggest that if you played a sport in school you would probably watch it if it comes on to your tv.

So what we need is orienteering in the school curriculum.
Feb 22, 2021 9:00 AM # 
I was on the math team in school. I don't much want to watch anything on TV, but certainly not people doing competitive math.
Feb 22, 2021 12:23 PM # 
What do Eco Challenge, Amazing Race, Boundless, Alone (and other "survival" shows), ManTracker have that we don't? (I'm including some so called "reality" titles as well as "sports")

Let's start with a cool name and good marketing. So a place to start might be to give a race a cool name and a good promotion budget.

Then there's the old adage, "if it bleeds it leads". Some, but notably not all, of the above, have a higher risk (or at least risk as perceived by the viewer) of plunging off a high cliff, getting mauled by a large carnivore, bitten by a venomous snake, etc.

Additionally, they have characters who you get to "know" and a sense of direct competition between the characters / teams. Everyone has a story - that back story brings more personal connection to the characters.

Lets look also at the Olympics, and I'll add national pride. A few years ago, a previously almost unknown sport called curling started to get a lot of viewers in the USA, because suddenly the USA had a shot at the top, and the media promoted it. Millions started watching hockey back around 1980 when a team of young Americans started beating top international teams culminating in battle with cold war enemy USSR. Can orienteering ever be big in North America (or down under) when our best finishers don't come anywhere near the top? Seems like there was a little surge in interest in orienteering in Canada a few years back when their Emily started getting some publicity for breaking into that top tier.

Then of course there is always the one big superstar personality who draws interest to a sport. Look at golf when Tiger Woods emerged on the scene. Or when the media promotes interest in an impossible improbable underdog (Eddie the Eagle, Jamaican bobsledders). But that interest also wanes quickly when the featured personality moves on.
Feb 22, 2021 12:35 PM # 
I have a pretty good idea of who BOM might be and I don´t think he would be afraid to identify himself. A well-known profile in Norwegian (and international) orienteering perhaps?
Feb 22, 2021 1:08 PM # 
Orienteering has tried out different new race formats in the past with limited success. One format which might be interesting to try is something like a mass elimination race. Lets say you have 30 control points and 23 athletes. At CP5 onwards the last runner is eliminated and you repeat this on each subsequent CP till the last five CPs where are only 3 athletes left in the race. Only these 3 have a chance to win and you have cameras to show the battle of the last survivors to the finish.
Feb 22, 2021 2:19 PM # 
Mike that's an interesting point you make. Our national MTBO team members in Aus used to have to fight for spots - elites both men and women, and juniors - back when we had a world champion (Adrian Jackson - notably it also helped that we held the World Champs in Aus in 2004 but the big interest kept going until 2013) but after he left the world competition in 2010, interest quickly waned so that now you just sort of need to show an ability to get on the team due to lack of numbers. Heck even I made it on!
Feb 22, 2021 3:58 PM # 
The other thing most of those reality shows have is interaction between people - conflicts, caring human moments, good/bad behaviour and reactions to it, etc. Eco-Challenge is a great show that doesn’t even try to cover a sports event properly. (Much to the frustration of adventure racers.) Still fun to watch!
Feb 24, 2021 3:32 PM # 
I'm not recalling the name of it but there's a British tv entertainment show that includes competitive math as part of it's format.
Feb 24, 2021 3:48 PM # 
kofols: mass elimination format you describe is essentially the same as a track cycling event called "miss and out".
Feb 24, 2021 4:00 PM # 
BOM is Bernt O Myrvold I assume.

Among other things he has been a IOF event advisor for some pretty major events and I think was high up in the organisation of the recent WOC in Norway. And I think he is also pretty high up in the 'orienteered in the most countries' league.
Feb 24, 2021 5:16 PM # 
That makes sense.
Bernt, if that is you, I am very glad to hear from you! least once a decade
... and I'm paying more attention
Feb 25, 2021 1:22 PM # 
Freeriding (snowboarding and skiing).

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