Thursday, 13 August 2009

World Games Nonsense Part 2


The justification for Kaohsiung hosting the 2009 World Games was that it would “raise the international profile” of Taiwan and also of the city of Kaohsiung.

I have no doubt that this claim would fit well with Taiwanese people who often labour under the delusion that their country is largely unknown outside of the Pacific Rim.

Yet the claim that the 2009 World Games would “raise the international profile” of Taiwan is entirely disingenuous. Taiwan is known to vast numbers of people all around the world who have any connection to the global consumer electronics industry. If anything, Taiwan would make the World Games world famous – not the other way round!

A simple Google search for “TV contracts World Games” returns a first page of ten results linking to baseball, superbikes and soccer. No mention of the World Games. No mention of Taiwan. No mention of Kaohsiung.

A Google search for “TV audience World Games” returns one result linking to a piece in the Hong Kong edition of the China Daily (last updated: 2009-07-23) in which the reader learns that although there are “growing numbers of television channels offering coverage of the games” according to one Games official, no estimates are given for international television audiences nor are any details of TV contract size given. One possible implication is that these figures are so small that they are dwarfed both by the number of ticket sales which we learn are around the 200,000 mark, and the domestic television audience for the opening ceremony, which apparently drew 5,000,000 in a country of 23,000,000 people.

The other Google results for “TV audience World Games” link to rugby, soccer, badminton and chess competitions.

Whilst I have no complaint against athletes participating in their chosen sports or against people paying to watch them, I do object to the fact that it was even partially tax-payer funded (KMT shenanigans notwithstanding), and to the outrageous claim that the World Games would “raise the international profile” of Taiwan. The falsity of that claim surely cannot be denied by anyone, irrespective of political affiliation.

It is to your shame as “professional journalists” that your publication continues to ignore this obviously uncomfortable fact.

In expectation of being ignored,

Michael Fagan

(Sent: Saturday 25th July 2009. Published by the Taipei Times: Monday July 27th 2009)