Most meet directors aren't used to having options when looking for tracks to hold a meet. Welcome to the marketplace.
One of my favorite moments in track & field is when I was at the track one morning for practice and the head of the largest local running group told me how, the day before, a meet director putting on a meet that I know you’ve heard about if you’re reading this contacted him to ask for help finding a track in the area.
The meet was in two weeks.
There’s nothing NALathletics could have done to help that situation. Finding a track was among the least of their problems.
But if you have more than two weeks to find your venue, we give you almost everything you need to know. Universities are the obvious choice, but they also tend to have the most restrictions and the highest fees. They may also have more than you need. Why pay for a facility that has all the throws facilities if your meet will only feature shot put? If your sprints will only have six athletes in each heat, why pay nine-lane prices?
Do you not want to have to rent port-a-john’s and spotlights? Maybe a slightly lower-quality track has higher quality built-in amenities.
Meet directors can use NALathletics’ map to shop around for precisely what they need within their budget. Of course, it takes two teams to play a game, so hopefully the facility owners are doing their part to meet the demand. They should be making sure we have all the right information for their facility, including pictures and Stories; responding to reviews to improve what they have; and overall using NALathletics’ map to build a market around what they have.
In a lot of areas there are only a few facilities that ever get used. That’s usually more a question of inertia than quality or effort.
It doesn’t mean everyone is satisfied with that arrangement, it’s just how it’s always been (isn’t that track & field’s motto?). Meet directors may want better facilities or a better rate. If those facilities had to deal with being outbid or underbid or overlooked, they would hopefully do more to attract the events and revenue that comes with it. For those facilities that are currently overlooked, this is their chance to come into the game. And for those facilities that see the occasional meet as a burden they’d rather get rid of, we help that happen to… and provide the reasons they may come to regret the decision to boot this sport.
To be fair, though, they haven’t see the sport our way. What they’re used to seeing, we’d want to boot that, too.
NALAthletics points the way to alternatives, and then it’s on those alternatives to step up and make themselves available for, you know, making money.