FINA Swim Meet Coverage: Dilkens’ Belly Flop

Tuomi-HeaderOn December 8 last year, Windsor’s mayor, Drew Dilkens, told the Windsor Star that the Short Course Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA) 13th World Swimming Championships, scheduled for December, “… is a very large, world-class event that will be broadcast literally to billions of people around the globe.”

Months later, Dilkens dramatically downsized the audience.

In a self-written article in April’s Biz X Magazine, he talked of coverage being in the millions. Possibly, after a reality check from reading The Square, he honourably toned down his enthusiasm.

Or, it could be Windsor’s hired event manager, Peter Knowles, reminded him about FINA’s, “… struggles to command significant media interest in the UK and many countries. Like many ‘traditional’ sports, aquatics is losing out to activities with more youthful, ‘edgy’ appeal.”

Indicative of this, $1.4 million of Windsor’s budget will go to setting up its own broadcast operation.

It will produce a daily highlights program and send out an international signal in HD. It will also rent specialized cameras and develop enhanced visual graphics and pay $80,000 to a FINA TV consultant. A further $400,000 will be needed to install broadcast quality LED lighting in the arena.

This may compensate for the skimpy broadcast schedule of FINA’s US broadcaster NBC. The broadcaster’s cable sports network will air coverage from 7:00pm to 9:00pm on December 8 and 9, and between 6:00pm to 9:00pm on the 11th. Streaming will be available at similar times on other days.

NBC’s satellite DirectTV channel, Universal HD, has coverage on December 6 and 7 from 9:00pm to 11:00pm.

Australia may be left out of the viewing audience completely.

Braden Keith, of the international internet swimming journal SwimSwam, reported July 18, 2013, about that year’s FINA event not being broadcast into Australia. He reasoned, “… confidence in the sport is falling.”

This is particularly surprising from a country Keith says where, “… a large portion of the population follows swimming, perhaps more than anywhere in the world, but where, this is a huge blow to the system for Australian swim fans.”

Australia’s situation was patched up somewhat by May 11, 2015.

SwimSwam reported its Olympic Committee had reached a long-term partnership between FINA and The Seven Network. This resulted in coverage of last year’s World Championships in Kazan, Russia, and next year in Budapest, Hungary.

But, there was no mention of the 2016 short course.

In 2015, Globosat, a Brazilian cable and satellite operator, acquired eight years of broadcast rights to cover the Windsor event and others. Although, mentioned most, “… of the action is expected to air on Globosat’s SporTV pay-television channels.”

In Brazil, reported on March 18, 2015, “… only 35 per cent of Brazilians watch pay TV.”

This does not mean a third of Brazilians will watch Windsor’s event.

All of this might have encouraged Dilkens to revise his television expectations, particularly since the NBC record for television viewers is quite small. The broadcaster says its coverage of the, “… 2012 gold medal game between the United States and Japan in women’s soccer set a new viewership record for the network, with 4.35 million viewers.”

Swimming is not as popular as soccer.

In April identified the Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the world. Soccer is number one.

Swimming was not on the list.

Given this, even millions watching could be a stretch, let alone billions.

About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi

1 Comment on "FINA Swim Meet Coverage: Dilkens’ Belly Flop"

  1. When Eddie Francis our past mayor went to bid on the FINA games, Windsor won the event as no other country wanted to host these games. The event bill is growing every day we are now most likely will past the $21 million that our ineffective mayor Dilkens has allowed. There are only a very small viewing audience that will watch these games, and yet it will cost the Windsor taxpayers over $21 million dollars. Our ineffective mayor and city councillors are ignoring our infrastructure that is in desperate need of repair for a loosing swim meet. We can only hope that the taxpayers of Windsor will take more interest in voting the right people to run our city in the next election.

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