“Paying $30 a month to watch a track meet is not reasonable for a lot of people” - Gabby Thomas criticizes Diamond League’s move behind a big paywall

2024 Team USA Media Summit
Gabby Thomas is unhappy with Diamond League's move behind a paywall

Gabby Thomas is one of the biggest American track and field stars at the moment, and she is known for speaking out about the issues of the sport. Recently, the 27-year-old criticized Diamond League’s impending move behind a paywall, citing the lack of accessibility for audiences.

Last week, it was announced that FloTrack had acquired the US broadcast rights for all Diamond League events starting in 2025. The decision irked fans and athletes alike, given that the subscription to FloTrack is fairly pricey.

NBC previously held the rights to telecast the Diamond League in America, with their subscription prices starting at $4.99 a month. In comparison, fans who want to watch the DL on FloTrack will have to pay $29.99 a month. Track and field enthusiasts pointed out that this hike in price would further hinder the sport's issues with visibility and popularity.

At the time of the announcement, Gabby Thomas had reacted negatively to the news, posting on her Instagram story.

“This might be the worst news I’ve heard from the diamond league since… ever,” she wrote.

Now, at the '100 Days To Go Until Paris 2024' event by Omega, Gabby Thomas once again brought up Diamond League’s move to a paywall, when asked by a Sportico reporter what authorities could do to improve track and field’s dying popularity.

“I'm most critical of decisions like that because it does eliminate visibility and there is a pretty big paywall behind watching our track meets now...Paying $30 a month to watch a track meet is not reasonable for a lot of people, to be completely honest,” she said.

The Olympic medalist went on to add that while there were plenty of improvements needed in the sport, access to events for audiences should be the priority.

“There's probably a long line of fixes we can make just to the structure of the sport in how we line up our races as well. We can get creative. We can have teams. We can do some fun things that other sports do. But I think the first step is: the fundamental access to watching track and field,” she added.

Gabby Thomas reacts to Olympic prize money for track and field athletes

Day 7 - World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023
Day 7 - World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023

One announcement by track and field authorities that Gabby Thomas can get behind, is the decision to award Olympic medalists prize money.

Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, recently announced that all track and field Paris Olympics gold medalists would be awarded $50,000. He also stated that the organization was working to provide all medalists cash rewards starting from the LA 2028 Games.

Reacting to this news while at the Team USA Media Summit on Tuesday, April 16, the American termed the development ‘amazing’, saying:

“I love that track and field is pioneering this. This is amazing, we’ve been talking about paying athletes for their hard work for a while. Support is so important, any time you can have any type of support it’s great. This is all often done with hope, dreams and effort.”

Gabby Thomas made her Olympic debut in Tokyo, where she walked away with a silver in the 4x100m relay and a bronze in the 200m spring. She will now be gunning to make it to her second consecutive Games in Paris.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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