When international track and field officials wanted to place their world championships 

In the U.S. for the first time, the running mecca that embedded Nike into American culture was the easy choice.

But pictures of half-empty stands in a sparkling new 25,000-seat track stadium in Eugene, Oregon,

And readouts of TV ratings that didn’t beat a routine NASCAR race re-emphasized a decades-old reality: 

When it comes to spectating, not competing, track is a niche sport in the United States.

Track and field’s leaders would like that to change over the next six years, especially in view of sagging 

viewership totals and flat revenue across the broader Olympic world. It’s critical, they say,