Monday, September 10, 2012

London 2012 - The Legacy

You could see it written all over David Cameron's face as he cheered and thumbed up the GB teams as they rode in a triumphal procession through London. 'Thank God,' it said. 'Thank God, Thatcher and Blair needed wars. But I, I had The Games'. Terribly Roman, isn't it ? In trying times, you have to give people diversion from the price of bread (or petrol in the UK these days), after all.

But what has this summer told us ?

In televisual terms it's proved that if you apply decent production values you can attract decent viewership for almost any sport.

For TV news it proved that people prefer good news over bad, albeit temporarily. Who really cares about the Euro collapsing when Mo or the Wierwolf are winning gold ? And who cares what's on the other channel ?

It also proved that if you don't give the people what they want, they will pirate - the number of streams being promoted illegally worldwide is something the IOC and the IPC need to seriously look at, as broadcasters refuse to cover the Games properly. I actually reckon that the internet rights outside the UK, if properly managed, could have generated up to twenty million pounds of advertising and sponsorship. Twice that paid for the UK rights. That's a trick that was seriously missed by companies like PTV.  Narrowcasting is alive and well...

Meanwhile, what the UK now needs is what America has - an intensely competitive system at high school and college level for all Olympic sports, with much, much better links between clubs and schools. Indeed, clubs should often BE schools or universities.

Sponsors should learn that they can get bigger bang for their buck from minority sports if they not only sponsor them, but promote them.

Event organisers should look to fill stadia, not rake in money from season ticket holders and they sport bodies should hire people from the entertainment industry to promote their events. 5000 spectators at £50, or 50000 at £5 - sports is one of the few industries (alongside music) that makes more money from a much lower price point. 'Elitist' sports and 'elitist' music are oxymorons (Greek, however, and not Roman).

Broadcasters have gradually moved away from the gladiatorial rites that was reality TV towards talent contests. I suspect there are a plethora of sports orientated talent shows being pitched to commissioning editors all over Soho as I write. And thank heaven for that. (Yes, I am a closet fan of The World's Strongest Man, I admit it...).

It has shown that US Presidential candidate, in an age of global ubiquitous media, can lose an election in another country. Mitt 'The Twit' Romney's doubting words on a flying visit has tarnished his campaign in the blogosphere. meantime, another American, New York born Boris Johnson played a blinder and may well not bother with becoming Prime Minister now, since he has created a platform to becoming President, so successful has his stewardship been.

But perhaps the greatest lesson, first learnt in the Chinese Games, is that sports trumps wars. In ancient Wales, Princes used to compete by sending their poets into battle against each other. If the pen is greater than the sword, well so is the javelin, the discus and the ball.

The world's favourite game, football, started as a battle between two villages (even institutionalised in our own Prime Minister's alma mater, Eton, as a brutal sport), evolved into the beautiful game and has since descended again to its roots.

Now it's time to build, and internet TV is the medium to use to do this. Who's up for it ?