The Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, started on July 24th, and so far, the true interest in terms of crowd and organizations has been heavily questioned regarding the attractiveness of the competitions.
Pan American: the low level of competitiveness
Obviously, the Pan American Games don’t have any kind of technical and structural comparison to the Olympic games, or even the World Championships of the categories.
It turns out that the Americas don’t have a lot of countries that really bring a high level of competitiveness.
To give an example, Brazil has a great number of good athletes on several Olympic sports, but they are still far behind global powers.
That scenario, however, changes completely when we talk about Pan American Games. They are part of the elite in most of the sports played there.
On the table of medals, so far (31/07/2019), Brazil appears in 3rd place, with a total of 11 gold medals, 8 silver medals and 17 bronze medals.
For comparison effects, on the Olympic Games of 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil finished in 13th place, with 7 gold medals, 6 silver medals and 6 bronze medals.
The only nation of the Americas finished ahead of Brazil were the United States, that were the biggest winners then and are also leading on this edition of the Pan American Games.
Other countries that have some sort of Olympic representation, such as Cuba and Canada, performed very poorly and right now they are still behind the Brazilians. Mexico and Argentina are the other countries with some strong categories, but generally they don’t have a set of great athletes.
Very few spots that grant spots in the Olympic Games
Obtaining a spot in the Olympic Games would be a great draw for the competitions on these Pan American Games.
However, the sports with higher public interest, like football, basketball and volleyball don’t even grant the winners a spot in the Games that actually matter for the general public.
After the Pan American Games we will have great events being organized, that are part of the Olympic cycle: like the World Championships of Water Sports, kayaking, judo, men’s basketball, athletics and gymnastics.
Besides that, we will have the pre-Olympic tournaments of male and female volleyball, at the start of August, and because of that, the Brazilians will be playing with an alternative squad in Lima, Peru.
Little media coverage
Of course, we have coverage of the Pan American games, with the main websites and media outlets having some professionals in Lima, that every day bring us news of the winners.
There are also some broadcasts, some articles regarding the winners that went through a series of difficulties and such. However, who really sees the importance of media in general regarding the Games in Peru?
What media outlet opens space on their usual schedule for broadcasts of every competition, just like they do in the Olympic Games?
Unfortunately, there isn’t that much demand from the public, with the sports or athletes involved not drawing a lot of attention.
For you, that are reading this text and still disagreeing, thinking that you see one or two broadcasts and news on the TV, I ask you:
how many times have you seen a big coverage of these games on a free channel on TV? The general public needs to be fuelled by the biggest media companies, and that isn’t happening here if we aren’t talking about football or great athletes involved.
The lack of great stars on the competitions
A basic strategy to attract crowd, be it on any big sporting event, is the presentation of great stars from the sport. In football, where they would have great attraction from the Peruvians, Brazil won’t play in the male or female category.
As it was already mentioned, the volleyball competitions have a conflict of dates with the pre-Olympic tournament and most of the elite athletes won’t play in Peru.
In tennis, the qualification for the Olympic games is through the ATP Rankings, which means these Pa -American Games don’t have a lot of interest.
In Surf, the Brazilian Gabriel Medina, that has been collecting titles, won’t compete here.
But one of the big reasons for the lack of public interest in the Pan American Games is that United States, that are the biggest attraction usually, didn’t bring most of their best athletes.
— Jesús Verde (@jesusverdeL) July 27, 2019
In athletics, for example, they sent a secondary roster, while the main athletes will be competing at the World Championships.
The same thing happens with the Swimming and Basketball, where the North Americans are a big powerhouse and grab the attention of the entire world, but where they’ve shown the importance of these Games: hardly any.
That is the sad reality, where athletes dream and need a life of training to reach the desired level.
However, we have delegations without great athletes, bigger interest on other competitions, very little media coverage and the culture of not valuing some sports end up diminishing the interest of the general public in following these Pan American Games.