Tetherball, tuxedo swimming, pepperoni pizza relays – all will help make the Games appeal to younger audiences.
Listen up, International Olympic Committee: Your summer product needs some tweaking. Sure, the opening and closing ceremonies are always spectacular, and the networks constantly strive to find compelling "behind the scenes" story lines that will elevate the daily ratings.
But let's be honest. Many events aren't the kind that will keep younger American audiences glued to their Aeron seats in suspense. Times change. They always do. I grew up when ABC's "Wide World of Sports" was seen as cutting-edge programming. Now it evokes chariot races in the Hippodrome.
The modern games have made adjustments before. They dropped croquet, Indian clubs, and the tug of war decades ago. And while I realize that running around a track has a long and distinguished tradition, it just doesn't give a lot of viewers in the crucial 18-to-35-year-old demographic goose bumps. Many of their ideas about how sports and entertainment should blend together have been shaped by years of exposure to "American Gladiator," "Fear Factor," and "Jackass."
Here are a few simple suggestions to improve coverage of the 2008 Beijing Games:
Track relay sprinters would carry something other than a little baton to hand off to the next runner. Possible alternatives: bucket of water, extra-large pepperoni pizza, miniature shorthaired dachshund.