Diack: Diamond League thrives despite sponsor loss

Updated: May 8, 2013, 3:46 PM ET
Associated Press

DOHA, Qatar -- Despite the loss of a title sponsor, the Diamond League track and field series remains strong, according to IAAF President Lamine Diack.

A new title sponsor hasn't yet replaced Samsung, but Diack said the loss of revenue will not affect the series or $8 million prize money at stake in the 14-meet competition held in venues around the world.

"While we are working hard to find a new partner for the circuit, it is not a question of life or death either," he told The Associated Press by email ahead of a meet Friday in Doha.

Diack said track and field has thrived despite the prolonged economic crisis, with Canon becoming the latest sponsor of the IAAF in November, joining Adidas, Seiko, Sinopec, TDK, Toyota and VTB.

"As to how athletics is adapting to the financial crisis, I believe very well," Diack said. "The number of international corporations being attracted to the sport confirms that reality."

Europe is a prime market for track and field, but the continent has dealt with various debt problems. Oftentimes, companies cut sponsorships for sports and entertainment.

Still, the IAAF has other revenue streams, including guaranteed income from TV until 2018 and from marketing until 2019. There's also increased revenue from the International Olympic Committee following the success of the London Games.

Diack said the IAAF, like most organizations, is reviewing security measures in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. He said the challenge was providing robust security while not putting fans off.

"The sport of athletics is particularly vulnerable to appalling acts of terror such as the world witnessed in Boston," Diack said. "We like most sports can have tight security at our stadiums, but how do we contend with a threat to a sport which sees most participation take place in public spaces?"

Diack, who has held the post since 1999 and was re-elected in 2011, wouldn't speculate on a successor. He would only say there was "no shortage of excellent candidates to take over from me."

Sebastian Coe, who oversaw the London Games and is an IAAF vice president, is the favorite to replace Diack. Another possible candidate is Ukrainian pole vault great Sergei Bubka, who is also an IAAF vice president.

"(We have) a number of real athletics legends who have succeeded in their non-athletics' careers and are now in a position to give back to the sport in their administrative roles," Diack said.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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