Like an Usain Bolt out of the blue, the world track and field federation, the IAAF, has launched a scheme to encourage more media coverage of its major Grand Prix meetings this summer by offering a limited number of half-price hotel stays to accredited media.
The IAAF announced the scheme this morning. Reporters and photographers have just one week to make an expression of interest in benefiting from the scheme surrounding the Samsung-sponsored Diamond League.
The athletics world body and the Grand Prix meeting organisers have long been anxious about the declining levels of newspaper coverage of its major events.
But more than a decade since trying to make “Friday night athletics night” as a way of avoiding the domination of newspaper sports pages by football, this is the first obvious use of cash incentives to more than a small, select band of specialist reporters.
Journalists interested in the offer need to email SDL_Media_Hotel_Offer@hq.iaaf.org before April 18.
The release states: “Whether visiting one or more of the 14 meetings in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and USA, the Samsung Diamond League is ensuring that the media encounter a standard high level of service throughout the series – centralised online accreditation process for all meetings, dedicated press room in the Meeting HQ or Media hotel, and at stadium, free-wifi on the tribune and in press rooms.”
The first meeting of the season is at Doha, Qatar, on May 6, although this is not covered by the hotel room offer.
Other meetings that are in the scheme include the Bislett Games in Oslo on June 9, meets in Birmingham (July 10) and Crystal Palace (August 5-6), with a finale in Brussels on September 16.
UPCOMING SJA DATES
Wed Apr 13: SJA 2011 Annual Meeting, at offices of UK Sport, Russell Square. Strictly SJA members only.
Wed Dec 7: SJA 2011 British Sports Awards – note the date in your diary now.
All details subject to alteration. Keep checking sportsjournalists.co.uk for updates