Press Release31 May 2024

Sport and event innovation central pillar in World Athletics’ four-year business strategy


Pioneering Change, strategic plan 2024-2027

World Athletics’ four-year business strategy, Pioneering Change (2024-2027), outlines the key strategic priorities for the sport, with innovation to grow its global reach and the sport’s value sitting at the heart of the strategy.

The Pioneering Change strategy focuses specifically on:

  • Faster paced and more exciting events for millions of people to watch, in the stadium and at home.
  • More innovation across the board, not just on the field of play, but ways to bring athletes and fans closer together in and out of competition.
  • More ways in which athletes can be the stars they deserve to be through competitions and targeted use of social media platforms.
  • More inclusive and accessible entry points into athletics as a competitor, a coach, a referee, a volunteer or an administrator.

The detailed strategy sets out goals, outputs and key performance metrics across five core pillars, four of which are built on from the last four-year Strategy for Growth. Innovation is the new pillar with central resources devoted to managing the innovation agenda which includes:

  • Reconfiguring the summer season to conclude each season with a global championship event that ends the classic outdoor season with flair, entertainment and purpose and provides a season-long narrative and long-term calendar consistency.
  • The launch of a new global championship in non-World Championship years so fans can enjoy an annual major global event and new funds can be raised for leading athletes and World Athletics.
  • Insights-driven timetable principles which integrate the planning of competition, broadcasting and event presentation in major championship events delivering a more comprehensive experience for fans in the stadium and at home.
  • Discipline reform to see if we can improve the entertainment and excitement value of the sport to help future-proof athletics, with a particular focus on field disciplines, race walks and combined events.
  • Sport development to ensure relevance, entertainment and excitement continue to drive our competitions by using new technology, processes, systems, research and data to enhance the appeal and impact of competitions across the globe. A number of sport development testing is underway including:
    • Some new events such as a mixed 4x100m relay and a steeplechase mile
    • A take-off zone for horizontal jumps
    • Improved efficiency of measurements
    • New ways to decide tie-breakers in jumps using new technology
    • Reviewing the weights of women’s shot put and javelin

All new initiatives will be robustly tested and consulted on before any decision is taken to introduce them into mainstream championships. If they don’t test well, they will not be introduced.

Other innovation includes new ways to help athletes increase their earning potential in terms of prize money, promotion and initiatives, such as documentaries, that raise awareness of their extraordinary talent.

“World Athletics has ambitious plans, a motivated network of more than 200 Member Federations, passionate athletes, coaches and meeting organisers and strong foundations delivered over the last eight years to take the sport to an exciting new level,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.

“Innovation across all facets of the sport will help to future-proof athletics and elevate the breadth and talent of our athletes, helping them and the whole sport maximise its potential and value. But it all starts with our events and our competitions. More events that attract more fans and broadcasters mean more money for our athletes, for our federations and more generally for our sport. This is the focus of our Pioneering Change four-year strategy (2024-2027).”

World Athletics