March 2016 Chairman’s Report

AT&T U-verse Sports created a twenty-three minute show that went behind the scenes at the 2015 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, and the results are nothing less than stellar.

2016 is already showing itself to be a year of opportunity and promise, as evidenced by a wonderful new documentary about our sport that you may know about.  For those of you who are not aware, a channel called AT&T U-verse Sports created a twenty-three minute show that went behind the scenes at the 2015 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, and the results are nothing less than stellar.

Through the U-Verse Sports television series, AT&T & DirecTV takes an inside look into a variety of sporting events and seeks to educate viewers about what is happening and what it takes to achieve success.  We were thrilled that the producers perceived our National Championship as a promising subject for their series, because although we know it well, the sport of dogs is not widely understood.  Today’s concept of popular sports does not typically include purebred dogs in its canon; yet our tradition of competition and sportsmanship persists all over the country and almost every weekend.  The producers of this series shared our belief that showing dogs is a sport and a pastime that so many people truly can relate to once they take a look inside.   

As we have seen, the media can be friend or foe.  So when this project began, we took a strategic approach.  Our team at AKC carefully vetted the production crew, referred the producers to dedicated exhibitors and communicated our goals to ensure that the project stayed true to our message. Through numerous on-camera interviews with AKC staff and many of our show participants across several of our events, U-Verse presented a refreshingly accurate explanation of what our sport is all about.  Conformation, agility, Junior showmanship and AKC Meet the Breeds were all included, which allowed the diversity of our sport to shine through.  Every one of our speakers and representatives communicated the “how” of dog shows with the eloquence of an expert.  And, even better, they communicated the “why” with humanity and heart.  We told viewers about the mechanics and rules of our competitions in terms they could easily understand, and we drove home the most important detail – we show our dogs purely because we love them.  They are our athletes, our friends, our pets and our family members. 

The documentary began its 90-day run of 80 airings on February 22 and aired in 15 million households.  It will also air on FidoTV from April 1st through June 1st at least ten times per week, running at various time slots, including during the day and evening prime time.  I would encourage everyone to watch it and share it by visiting Uverse.com; you will also find a link to the channel on akc.org.  I am sure you will agree, the positive depiction of our sport and its people is something to be celebrated and is well deserved.  The volumes of supportive feedback we have received so far share a common theme: it is thrilling and gratifying to see our sport portrayed honestly as a pursuit for people of all backgrounds that is challenging, fun and always in the best interest of our dogs. 

Totally unscripted, natural and original, the documentary presented our breeders, handlers and fanciers as the ultimate responsible dog owners.  We couldn’t have asked for a better advertisement for our sport if we needed one.  For anyone who might question what we do, we now have a terrific addition to our Public Education toolkit.  And best of all, our purebred dogs have the starring role. 

 

Sincerely, 

Ron Menaker