There are numerous compelling reasons why nearly 600 of the world's leading athletes from 43 nations will converge on Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, next weekend (May 24-25) for the inaugural International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays event.
In terms of dollars, the IAAF has provided 1.4 million reasons for this trip to the Caribbean in its prize fund, with $50,000 (£30,000/€37,000) on offer to the winners of each of the 10 events, and an additional $50,000 (£30,000/€37,000) being due for any world record-breaking performances.
Entrants include 2013 World Championships individual gold medallists LaShawn Merritt of the United States, Kenya's Asbel Kiprop and Eunice Sum, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Christine Ohuruogu of Britain.
In addition, there is a plethora of other medallists from Moscow who have been entered and world champions of a slightly earlier vintage who will be in Nassau include Yohan Blake, Yusuf Saad Kamel, Maryam Yusuf Jamal, Janeth Jepkosgei and Sanya Richards-Ross.
The IAAF World Relays be staged in the newly-built 15,000-seater Thomas Robinson Stadium, with both men and women competing in the 4x100 metres, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1,500m.
The top eight teams in both the men's and women's 4x100m and 4x400m will automatically qualify for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
As far as the hosts are concerned, the faith which has been placed in them by the IAAF, which has also awarded the 2015 running of the event to Nassau, has acted as a spur to complete the rebuilding of the stadium named in honour of their four-time Olympic sprinter who won multiple medals including the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth 220 yards gold.
And the resulting focus on their island will add further to its already firmly established reputation as a tourist attraction.
For the IAAF, this event is one of several new initiatives designed to increase and widen its spectator appeal, particularly to the younger generation.
Earlier this year, the IAAF President Lamine Diack told insidethegames: "The greatest danger to athletics and the entire Olympic Movement is the rising age of the average sports fan which is interested in Olympic sports. The 50+ age group is now the main audience for our sport.
"The IAAF with heavy investment in internet and social media and the development of a school/youth programme crowned by the IAAF's globally successful 'Kids Athletics' project is combating this issue. We are engaging with the younger generation to inspire the athletes and fans of the future."
Speaking of the impending event during last year's IAAF World Championships in Moscow, the world governing body's general secretary Essar Gabriel commented: "We are here to talk about a new and exciting addition to our events. The Relays bring the addition of teaming up and the excitement of the unfolding of different abilities with competitions from 100m up to higher distances.
"These are exciting events that the spectators want to see. The Bahamas is the land of relays. The icing on the cake is that the 2014 edition will be considered as a qualification for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, and 2015 edition for the 2016 Olympic Games."
Daniel Johnson, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture in the Bahamas, added: "You are going to see a spectacular event, this will be one of the best events ever; we are bringing the best athletes in the world together. We are celebrating 40 years of independence and have just built a new national stadium named after Thomas A Robinson - sprinter, who competed in four successive Olympic Games, a national hero and are building a new hotel resort - Baha Mar, it is the most spectacular resort in the Caribbean."
The Bahamas squad features local heroes such as Chris Brown, who completed a full set of Olympic 4x400m medals when he won relay gold at London 2012, and Shaunae Miller, the former world junior and youth champion at 400m who took bronze at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot two months ago.
"Our vision, from the beginning, is what do we do with this new facility and how do we promote the sport of track and field in the Bahamas at the same time and continue to grow the sport of track and field in the Bahamas," Michael Sands, President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), said. "The only way to do that is to ensure the stadium does not become a white elephant and to create some incentive for our athletes.
"So being able to secure an event of the IAAF World Series, in this instance the World Relay Championships, the IAAF is fully behind it because it's their event. We are only hosting it. But we are very, very fortunate that they have selected us as the inaugural host of the initial World Relay Championships. It's a prestigious event for us."
IAAF Council member Pauline Davis-Thompson, who was in the 4x400 team which took silver at the 1996 Olympics and gold at the Sydney 2000 Games, where she also won the individual 200m title, sees the impending competition as a huge opportunity to promote her country. "It will have a great impact," she said. "One thing you have to remember is that Bahamas is a tourism destination, number one in the Caribbean. In the short term, it will be great to welcome the world to the relays; long term, my country is focused on sport tourism and with the IAAF World Relays, the Bahamas will be on show and the world will see what we are all about.
"The Bahamas has a rich history in athletics, we love athletics, but more than anything, we love the relays."
Of the 12 medals the Bahamas has won at the Olympics, 10 have been in athletics, and, of those, five have come in the relay. So no wonder the Bahamas loves this form of athletics. But it is far from the only country to hold dear an event which is always one of the great crowd pleasers at any championships.
In what is an individual sport, the team event of the relay is an anomaly which offers perennial fascination for competitors and spectators alike. The relay offers athletes the possibility of being greater than the sum of their parts - or, given the constant risk of disqualification through lining up in the wrong order, running out of lanes or failing to exchange the baton successfully, to be less than the sum of their parts.
It is this constant promise, and this lurking threat, that makes the relay such a compelling spectacle for athletics followers. The Olympics has provided ample evidence of this phenomenon.
One of the most startling relay runs in Olympic history occurred at the Tokyo Games of 1964, when poor baton exchanges left Bob Hayes of the US in fifth place as he set off on the final leg. It took him just over 30 metres to assume the lead and he crossed the line three metres clear, earning his team the gold in a world record of 39.0sec. The slowest estimated timing on his final, flying-start 100m was 8.9sec.
The Bahamas victory in the women's 4x100m at the Sydney 2000 Olympics was prefaced by a rousing speech from Davis-Thompson at the medallists' press conference following the individual 200m, where she had taken silver behind Marion Jones of the United States but was moved up to the gold medal position when Jones was stripped of her medals after admitting to taking performance enhancing drugs.
"We are only a small country with 27,000 people, so small that you can hardly find us on the map," Davis-Thompson said. "So what does that tell you about our nation that we had three women in the final of the 100 metres? We have never been given the credit we deserve collectively despite all the titles we have won, but I am telling you Marion, that is just going to make our victory all the sweeter when it comes." The victory duly arrived.
Russia may be a somewhat larger nation than the Bahamas, but there was no mistaking the upsurge of feeling in the 1980 Olympic stadium when Antonina Krivoshapka held off the challenge of Francena McCorory of the US all the way down the home straight to bring the home nation home first in the 4x400m final in 3min 20.19sec, just 0.22sec clear at last year's World Championships.
Britain's most cherished relay exploit is probably the one which occurred at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo where the US favourites and defending champions were beaten to gold by four hundredths of a second as the European 400m hurdles champion Kriss Akabusi held off Antonio Pettigrew on the last leg. Britain had taken the initiative by putting their strongest runner, double European champion Roger Black, on the first rather than the last leg, and by drafting in 200m specialist John Regis on the third leg.
But relay catastrophes have been as memorable as outstanding performances down the years. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the feelings of Germany's Ilse Dörffeldt can only have been imagined as she dropped the baton during the final pass, at which point her team - which had set a world record of 46.4sec in the heats which would stand for 16 years - had an eight metres lead. Among the 100,000 spectators was Der Führer, Adolf Hitler - although he was sufficiently moved by Dörffeldt's sobbing to take pity on the stricken quartet after the US had taken gold.
Similar misfortune befell the Australian women's sprint relay team at the 1952 Olympics. Having broken the German world record set in Berlin with an opening heat of 46.1, the Aussies appeared ready to add gold when they led by a metre into the final changeover, but as Marjorie Jackson, the individual 100 and 200m winner earlier in the Games, set off, her hand collided with the incoming Winsome Cripps' knee, knocking the baton to the floor. Again, the US profited, this time in a world record of 45.9.
While the US men have dominated the sprint relay over the years, they also have their own distressing history of malfunction. At the Rome 1960 Olympics, where the US were expecting a ninth consecutive gold in the 4x100m, their anchor runner Dave Sime crossed the line first in their heat in a world record time. But the US were then disqualified for a faulty first exchange after Ray Norton had advanced beyond the 20m passing zone. Germany won the final in 39.5sec - world record.
More recently the US men's sprint relay team got onto a run of misfortune in which Darvis Patton was an unhappy protagonist on three successive global championships. Patton fumbled an exchange with Tyson Gay at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, was part of a lane infraction that disqualified the team in Berlin at the following year's World Championships, and then fell down and injured his shoulder when he was bumped by another sprinter at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu.
Things got better for Patton, and the US, at the next year's London Olympics, where they took silver behind the Bolt-powered Jamaicans.
But for the British men's sprint relay team, London 2012 merely extended the misery. They entered the home Games having been disqualified in four out of the previous five Olympics, as well as the European Championships in July of that year. In front of a passionate home crowd, another exchange infringement saw them disqualified in the opening heat. And a year later, at the Moscow World Championships, it was head-in-hands time again as the British quartet was disqualified in the final for exchanging the baton outside the takeover zone.
Now Nassau awaits two days of highs and lows as an individual sport gets together on and off the track.
Mike Rowbottom, one of Britain's most talented sportswriters, covered the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics as chief feature writer for insidethegames, having covered the previous five summer Games, and four winter Games, for The Independent. He has worked for the Daily Mail, The Times, The Observer, The Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian. His latest book Foul Play - the Dark Arts of Cheating in Sport (Bloomsbury £12.99) is available at the insidethegames.biz shop. To follow him on Twitter click here.