© Copyright – 2022 – Athletics Illustrated

The sport of athletics seems to be waning in most competitions, broadcasts, general media, and fan support, but is it really? With the popularity of the major marathons and athletics at the Olympics, perhaps there is a niche to focus on.

As it turns out, revenues generated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were the same for the Tokyo Olympic Games as they were for the Rio Games in 2016.

The IOC has shared a total of $522.98 million USD or £465.55 million, or €530.12 million to 28 sports (boxing received fewer dollars than expected due to being in a state of disarray — to the point where the IOC managed the boxing program in Tokyo, not their governing body FIBA).

World Athletics received $39,480,000, gymnastics (FIG) $31,360,00 and aquatics $$31,360,000 (FINA). At the bottom was the pentathlon union, golf, and rugby each at $12,980,000.

Athletics continues to be the showcase at the Olympic Games, especially the track and field program.

The sport of athletics came out of the pandemic in better shape than most other sports. This may be due to the cancellation of all team sports at all levels. Anecdotally, people seemed to be running and walking more. Families were running together and perhaps with the most basic human movement as their source of exercise, experienced renewed exposure to the sport and their appreciation grew.

At the top end of the sport, according to a 2021 report by World Athletics, more than 10,000 athletes competed in more than 100 elite competitions, which included three World Athletics Series events, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (in 2021), 12 Diamond League meets, and 69 World Athletics Continental Tour meetings.

In addition, approximately one million people took in 84 road label races held in 50 countries. Meaning many more ran and walked in non-label races in 2021. These participation rates are up on the 48 label road races held in the previous year — mostly elite events.

Coming out of 2021, World Athletics reported that revenue for the year, prior to the above Olympic dividend, “remained stable at $43,300,000.”

Revenues for the year rose 87 per cent to $83,000,000. Expenditure increased by 26 per cent to $52, 600,000. Almost half (45 per cent) of expenditure focused on competition and events ($23.5m).

Although there was some belt-tightening by the organization during the pandemic, revenues continued to come in through creative event management while grants rose by 13 per cent.

Cash for the year increased by 34 per cent to $54,000,000.