The Collins Cup, Even Super Bowl One Didn’t Sell Out, But it Was a Pretty Good Start–a Few Ideas for the Future

By Bill Plock

In 1966 Lamar Hunt unknowingly named the Super Bowl. The owner of the Kansas City Chiefs in the American Football League led a movement to compete with the National Football League. The champions of each league would play each other in a championship game in 1967 leading to a future merger of the leagues. Lamar Hunt wrote NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle a letter in July of 1966, “I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.” He later said the named popped into his head watching his kids play with a super ball. That super ball, along with Lamar Hunt are the in the Football Hall of Fame and we all know “Super Bowl” stuck and it’s one of the most watched events on the planet. But that first game didn’t even sell out, it takes time.

Triathlon’s “Super Bowl” happened today in Slovakia, it was called the Collins Cup. Yes we have Kona and the IRONMAN World Championships but that is about individuals, today was about the teams and the sport and profession of triathlon.

The Collins Cup was designed to mirror golf’s popular Ryder Cup pitting three teams of 12 athletes (6 men, 6 women) against each other. One team from Europe, the United States and Internationals. 

The goal, to make professional triathlon a better spectator sport thus attracting more money to make the profession more lucrative and sustainable. 

Will it work? Did it work? It’s too early to say but nobody predicted the wild popularity of the Super Bowl. Triathlon will never be that popular but lets see what happens. 

The Professional Triathlon Organisation orchestrated this “made for TV event”. Viewers watched 12 matches with one competitor from each team racing. Each match started 10 minutes apart. The entire race lasted about 5 hours. Cameras were all over the course capturing the 36 athletes racing in their own three person race. It was fun to watch and the coverage was good as was the announcing. It was especially fun to have Tour de France commentator Phil Liggett behind the mic. His voice just adds a tone of familiarity and importance. 

Team Europe won, followed by the United States and the the Internationals. No surprise there. 

By far the story of the day was U.S’s Taylor Knibb, again. She absolutely crushed her competition and notably IRONMAN World Champion and number one ranked Daniela Ryf. Taylor beat her by almost 17 minutes. By far the largest gap of any match of the day. Her final time of 3:30 was the best time by almost four minutes over any women and only three minutes behind IRONMAN male World Champion Patrick Lange! And Taylor did it on a road bike!

Said 303 Podcast Director, Rich Soares, “Having the best triathletes in the world racing for teams makes for great competition.  Having the fantasy competition really added to the engagement and the eventual upsets and surprises.  I Loved seeing the Olympians race against long course champions.  My big question, where was Olympic gold medalist Flora Duffy?  Knibb vs. Duffy right now would be Pay-Per-View worthy!”

But let’s break down the event. It’s a good start if you like triathlon, know some of these athletes and understand what they are trying to do. A better start if you have raced long course to appreciate the speed. And a fabulous start if you know anything about the Ryder cup and how match play works. But even if you don’t know the Ryder cup, the announcers did a good job of explaining what was going on and how the points were earned. Where beating competitors by more minutes meant more team points. That alone kept every race important and each athlete motivated to stay close. The motivation of working for the team was very real. We heard Jan Frodeno say how hard it was when he was told with 2k to go that if he could increase his lead by 30 seconds it would mean an extra point for his team. And he did just that—busted a move and exhausted himself even with a comfortable lead over Sam Appleton. 

The points were key to making the races compelling. Otherwise there were almost no close finishes and little shoulder to shoulder running and drama at the finish line. I think that needs to change somehow. Having 12 matches and virtually no finish line drama was a bit of a miss. 

The television coverage was good with plenty of coverage all over the course. And the interactive “maps” showing arial views of where the athletes were, sort of like Harry Potter’s Maurader map, was cool. I would’ve like to see a huge arial map showing where all athletes were on the course with “flags” showing speed/pace. 

One thing that was severely lacking, and would’ve added a lot of energy were spectators. Even more riding through towns with fans, but there were barely any. And the finish line was small and not very electric. That was disappointing. 

Rich Soares adds, “The Olympics is a hard act to follow.  After weeks of Olympic village and Odaiba Park with it’s massive blue carpet area, I was a little underwhelmed by the Collins Cup venue.  Great camera angles and on course coverage no doubt.  Being right after the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic might be limiting, but I would love to see this in a bigger city with crowds next time.”

I thought they (PTO) might steal some ideas from NASCAR and feature more data like heart rates and watts and give more stats like min/mile, mph and other effort indications. I think more of that data would be appealing to non-triathlete watchers who get speed and data. I’m sure getting athletes to agree to reveal that data might be hard. 

In general I liked format and match ups. I felt the racing was a bit lonely with not enough dueling on the course. Maybe matches should be with 6 or even 9 athletes so teams can work a bit together on the course with more potential for drama at the finish line. 

But I also have a Super Bowl ticket stub when a ticket cost $30 and my dad thought that was crazy. $30 might get you a parking spot a mile from the stadium these days. You gotta start somewhere! 

By the way the fantasy aspect Rich talked about; fans and media could predict the outcomes and fans could win prizes. I took a few chances hoping for some upsets but finished in the middle of the pack of the Team US media. The European Press mimicked the European athletes and kicked ass!

The final standings:

INDIVIDUAL MATCH RESULTS

Match 1 
Taylor Knibb USA 3:30:11 – 6 points
Daniela Ryf EUR +16:43 – 3.5 points
Teresa Adam INT +22:58 – 1 point 

Match 2 
Lucy Charles-Barclay EUR 3:33:46 – 5 points
Katie Zaferes USA +4:16 – 2 points
Paula Findlay INT +4:53 – 1 point 

Match 3
Jackie Hering USA 3:35:19 – 4 points
Anne Haug EUR +2:23 – 2 points
Jeanni Metzler INT +3:24 – 1 point

Match 4
Ellie Salthouse INT 3:38:36 – 4.5 points
Skye Moench USA +2:01 – 2.5 points
Holly Lawrence EUR +5:29 – 1 point  

Match 5 
Emma Pallant-Browne EUR 3:34:45 – 4.5 points
Chelsea Sodaro USA +1:13 – 3.5 points
Sarah Crowley INT +8:27 – 1 point  

Match 6
Katrina Matthews EUR 3:35:12 – 5.5 points
Jocelyn McCauley USA +5:42 – 3 points
Carrie Lester INT +10:42 – 1 point 

Match 7
Jan Frodeno EUR 3:20:22 – 5 points
Sam Appleton INT +4:38 – 2 points
Sam Long USA +5:09 – 1 point 

Match 8
Gustav Iden EUR 3:13:28 – 6 points
Collin Chartier USA +7:13 – 2 points 
Kyle Smith INT + 7:16 – 1 point

Match 9
Lionel Sanders INT 3:19:13 – 3 points
Sebastian Kienle EUR +1:06 – 2 points 
Andrew Starykowicz USA +1:51 – 1 point  

Match 10
Daniel Baekkegard EUR 3:15:27 – 4.5 points
Ben Kanute USA +1:23 – 3.5 points
Max Neumann INT +10:58 – 1 point  

Match 11
Braden Currie INT 3:27:13 – 5.5 points
Matt Hanson USA +5:16 – 2 points  
Patrick Lange EUR +6:44 – 1 point 

Match 12
Jackson Laundry INT 3:18:28 – 3.5 points
Joe Skipper EUR +00:38 – 2.5 points
Justin Metzler USA +3:45 – 1 point

TEAM STANDINGS

Team Europe – 42.5 points
Team US – 31.5 points
Team Internationals – 25.5 points

PTO Explains Its Vision, Will IRONMAN and PTO Raise the Bar for the Sport of Triathlon, 303 Thinks So.

By Bill Plock

Recently social media giant, Triathlon Taren interviewed the CEO of the Professional Triathlon Organisation (PTO), Sam Renouf. This podcast left me quite impressed with the direction of the PTO, Triathlon Taren and made me hopeful for the sport of triathlon. 

Triathlon Taren’s Podcast HERE

https://triathlontarenpodcast.libsyn.com/ptos-2021-business-plan-with-ceo-sam-renouf?fbclid=IwAR0prEShgNp4aeKqII4On69QiyVzuZz-ArG_1Pit5Viop2qSRFKtTwq7YI0

In a public perception sort of way, we seem to want a good vs. bad, a black vs. white, a villain vs a hero story. In the triathlon space, last year PTO took a shot at buying IRONMAN only to be denied. Then PTO decided to introduce a golf influenced triathlon extravaganza, the Collins Cup to showcase the sport of triathlon and attempt to make it a made for TV event. But Covid killed that for 2020 and its slated for August of 2021. 

They then partnered with IRONMAN competitor, the Challenge Family and made CHALLENGE Daytona their pro triathlon championship complete with a 1.2 million dollar prize purse. The PTO also awarded other non-Ironman races with prize purses during 2020 eventually rewarding pros with a few million dollars. Meanwhile IRONMAN had a few races in 2020, but all in all, PTO was responsible for a majority of the cash awarded to pro triathletes and frankly kept them going in 2020.

So now, in the eyes of the public, there seems to be a bit of a triathlon “war” between Ironman and the PTO. According to PTO, their mission is to grow the sport overall and they believe the way to do that is with a healthy pro field and events that appeal to sponsors who want to reach an audience not just racing, but watching on television or in the venue itself—like the home of the Daytona 500.  

Furthermore the PTO believes that salaries and prizes for pros should not be funded primarily by age group entry fees, but rather by sponsor fees. In IRONMAN races, the age group entry fees are the foundation for the revenues and thus the vehicle to fund prizes. The PTO believes that sponsors, TV advertisers and event marketers should pay for the bulk of the prizes and the age groupers shouldn’t be funding the pros. PTO believes IRONMAN races are too expensive for age groupers and that the experience can be made better and less expensive and also that pro’s should be compensated much better. 

Sam Long fired up running with Rudy Von Berg–photo Khem Suthiwan

Ok, so now what? PTO has deep pockets and has spelled out in this interview how they plan to eventually have a model like golf and tennis. There will be four or five triathlons the PTO manages that are the equivalent of the “majors” and will feed a championship. Along the way, local and regional triathlons will act as qualifying events for the majors. 

Not every event will be the same or on a track like Daytona. In this podcast they discuss for example how Challenge Roth could be a possible major and how covering it for TV won’t be as easy as a Daytona, but necessary. They discuss how they want a mix of race types so different athletes with different strengths can emerge champions. Again, think tennis or golf. There are clay court specialists, long course type of golfers, and so forth. Yes, they all need to be able to be good in all conditions, but not all triathletes compete well in say a Kona type environment, or even at a full distance Ironman. A full distance IRONMAN is pretty much about attrition and stamina.  There is strategy, and speed and making the most of one’s skills of course, but very few athletes have a chance to win. It’s not a compelling race. It’s a compelling event because what these pros (and age groupers) do is absolutely incredible and inspirational. 

303’s Khem Suthiwan and Bill Plock in Daytona

But, it’s not made for TV and a tough sell to non-endemic sponsors. The PTO, in Daytona had to prove they could pull off a made for TV event that was competitive and combined the need for skill and speed coupled with stamina and endurance—and they did it.

In Daytona, half a million people watched the race with an average watch time of 29 minutes according to Sam Renouf. That’s unheard of. The PTO definitely succeeded in orchestrating a watchable event. This isn’t to say that the steaming of Kona doesn’t have a large audience, but, according to this podcast the time watched is merely seconds versus 29 minutes. And, that makes sense. There is very little drama in Kona. In Daytona the lead changed practically every few minutes. People probably check in on Kona to see who is still in the lead and come back later. That’s what I do when I’m there.  Once in a while there is some drama in Kona, but with the lap format in Daytona, each lap showcased someone moving up or down the leaderboard. 

The bottom line, to me, is IRONMAN and the PTO can co-exist, quite nicely in fact. 

IRONMAN has one huge advantage over Challenge or any other triathlon—they have a brand. They own triathlon. 

To the average person on the street, if you say “triathlon,” they think “Ironman”. They will say, “oh that race in Hawaii.” Like Kleenex is to tissue paper. Do you see any tattoos of Challenge or USAT or any other form of triathlon on people? Nope. That says it all. 

So as long as IRONMAN continues to put on quality events, and they do, and people aspire be “Ironmans” they will succeed. And as long as Kona or wherever the 70.3 championships are held, are tough to qualify for and have a worldwide appeal, they will be remain relevant. 

To the pro’s, at the end of the day, they will, and need to go where the money is. But there may always be a desire to race Kona even if it’s not the top money gathering race. There may always be a desire to figuratively race against the legends of the sport on the same historic course; the Mark Allens, Dave Scotts, Paula Newby-Frasers, Chrissie Wellingtons, Miranda Carfraes etc.  And the same goes for age groupers. As someone who nearly qualified, I know its a pretty exclusive club to race there, and that appeal is strong. 

If I had my druthers, I would love to see IRONMAN and the PTO kiss and make up and throw IRONMAN races into the mix as qualifiers for the pros. Maybe Kona is the long course championship, maybe the Collins Cup is the place for national pride to take over (its America, vs Europe vs Internationals—like golfs Ryder cup) and maybe Daytona is a mix where triathletes of all disciplines get to race against each other and the fastest one wins. And maybe great regional races like a Lake to Lake, or Harvest Moon here in Colorado become qualifiers for a PTO Major maybe held in a place like Des Moines—think the old Hy Vee race. 

Who knows, but a fun, healthy made for TV sport will only help provide more opportunities for both age groupers and pros to excel, make a living and have fun.

The sport needs heroes and characters. Locally we have someone like Sam Long who isn’t afraid to mix it up and call people out and behind his “yo yo yo’s” I believe Sam is having a ton of fun and trying to make the sport more dynamic and earn a living doing so. He, I believe wants nothing more than great competition like all triathletes I have ever met.

The sport needs a healthy variety of races and distances and a sense of pride for competing in everything from a local sprint to Kona. Every triathlon and triathlete should be judged on their willingness to try every single day at every single event. 

Go PTO, raise the bar. Go IRONMAN, keep the dream alive and lets hope someday you both dance on the same dance floor together. 

Angela Naeth, Tim Don in at Daytona, Will Sam Long Get a Golden Ticket? Still 8 more Slots Open

By Bill Plock

Will Boulder’s Sam Long find the Golden ticket to race in Daytona? The “top” 80 triathletes were invited weeks ago and now 12 others have been invited via the Wildcard selection. Eight slots remain and will be awarded in the next week. It feels like the PTO is taking a page from Willy Wonka handing out Wildcards like a golden ticket making their way around the world. Who will be Charlie and get the last golden ticket to race the most lucrative triathlon on the planet? There is a million bucks on the line and no doubt the pro’s want a shot at the prize, especially in 2020. 

The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) is certainly doing its best to make the triathlon season competitive, fun and lucrative with the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA®  

Today Angela Naeth received a golden ticket. We just interviewed Angela on the 303 Endurance Podcast being released tomorrow so check that out! She has had a very interesting career with some great accomplishments and has overcome a huge challenge with Lyme’s disease. Angela grew up in a small town in a very remote part of British Columbia so learning of her journey is fun and interesting.

It seems the PTO is stirring up the pro triathlon circuit and maybe some fun rivalries will come out of this recipe for wanting to make pro triathlon a better followed sport. The vision is to make the profession more lucrative and more on par with other sports. Having an event like Challenge Daytona will definitely create some buzz. 

What’s interesting about Challenge Daytona is all types of triathletes are vying for the prizes; short course, ITU and long course champions will all be on the start line. No doubt winning Kona at the IRONMAN World Championships will not be replaced as coveted award, but with an event like Daytona, the monetary stakes are higher and it’s very hard to predict who will win. In Kona its a pretty small field of probable winners. But in Daytona it’s hard to know who the favorites are. 

Today we are interviewing Norwegian Olympian Kristian Blummenfelt who holds the world record time for a IRONMAN 70.3 distance. Daytona will be the same distance, so he must be a favorite. But then factor in someone like Tim O’Donnell the fastest American in Kona last year. The list of other athletes with amazing accomplishments is staggering. So many could win. 

And back to Sam Long, if he gets in; he has had an amazing year winning IRONMAN Cozumel 70.3 and the Bear Lake Triathlon earlier this summer with a solid list of pro’s. Check out this video from the Bear Lake Triathlon,

Let’s hope Sam gets the golden ticket—keep buying those chocolate bars Sam!!

Here is some commentary from the PTO and Executive Chairman Charles Adamo about the selection of the first 12 wildcards over the past couple of weeks.

The Professional Triathletes Organisation first selected Vincent Luis, Nicola Spirig, Kristian Blummenfelt and Georgia Taylor-Brown as wildcards for the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA®

Charles Adamo, Executive Chairman of PTO, commented, “It certainly was not a difficult decision for the non-athlete members of the PTO Board to select these four world-class athletes to join the already star-studded starting line at the PTO 2020 Championship.  With Luis and Taylor-Brown being the reigning World Triathlon Champions, Blummenfelt holding the middle-distance world record, and the pure greatness of Spirig, there is little doubt they will challenge for the title. It will be an exciting prospect for triathlon fans around the world to see these athletes doing battle against the sport’s middle- and long-distance stars.”

The Professional Triathletes Organisation then announced that Tim Don, Flora Duffy, Gustav Iden and Jessica Learmonth have been selected as wildcards for the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA®.

Charles Adamo, Executive Chairman of PTO, commented, “The second round of wildcard selections were as easy to make as the first. With these four tremendous world-class athletes added to the mix, the PTO 2020 Championship will have an unprecedented field.”

Adamo added, “No one better than Tim Don exemplifies the resilience and integrity of our sport. His comeback from a horrific bike accident is an inspiration to us all. The first championship event run by PTO professionals would not be the same without this seasoned statesman on the start line. While Don brings the experience and breadth of a 20+ year career, Learmonth and Iden, with their recent stellar performances, bring the speed and power of youth, and what can’t you say about the versatile, multi-world champion Flora Duffy? There isn’t any format, distance or style of swim, bike and run she doesn’t excel at. We all look forward to seeing her whiz around the iconic race venue.”

Tim Don, commented, “I am grateful to have been awarded a wildcard spot. After over twenty-five years in the sport, it is great that professionals have their own organisation and now, a championship.  It is an honour for me to be competing alongside my fellow professionals in the PTO 2020 Championship, and while the competition will be tough, the camaraderie will be even greater as professionals unite to make our sport better.”

Charles Adamo, Executive Chairman of PTO, commented “Our third round of wildcard selections is filled with Olympic medallists and a gritty Canadian. With Britain’s Jonny Brownlee and South Africa’s Henri Schoeman joining Jonny’s brother, Alistair, and Javier Gomez on the start line, the star-studded field will have every men’s Olympic medal winner from both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Sweden’s Lisa Norden, silver medal winner in the 2012 London Olympics, will join previously announced wildcard selection Nicola Spirig, who denied Norden gold by 9/1000th of a second. Canadian Angela Naeth just missed out on an automatic qualifying spot, but her stellar career and her remarkable comeback after being diagnosed with Lyme disease has earned her a wildcard place.”

PTO and IRONMAN Talks Heating Up, Maybe Not in a Friendly Way?

By Bill Plock

Below is a news release we just received from the Professional Triathletes Organization regarding their attempt to engage with IRONMAN for eventual purchase and/or collaboration. It’s no secret the Wanda Sports Group is hoping to sell its triathlon business (IRONMAN). If you are keeping up with this saga, here is the latest.

From afar, does this in some ways parallel what is happening in the National Football League, but on a much, much smaller scale? The NFL is trying to get the players union to accept a new collective bargaining agreement that is actually valid until 2021. But from all accounts, NFL owners want to leverage a long term players agreement as they approach upcoming, multi-billion dollar television contracts due for negotiation this year. If there is a “shaky”, one year agreement players contract still in place, it is thought the NFL will not be able to maximize television contracts due to a possible strike and loss of games to be televised. Makes sense.

Is this a similar situation? It seems the PTO is basically telling IRONMAN that with a supportive professional triathlete organization, they will have a better product to sell and a stronger brand. So why are there no conversations happening–at least publicly? It will be interesting to see how this moves forward.

LONDON, ENGLAND–: The Professional Triathletes Organisation today released the following letter sent to the Board of Directors of Wanda Sports Group Company Limited on 3rd March 2020 advising the Board that in its view the value of the Ironman® Business in any possible sale would be adversely affected by its failure to engage in constructive discussions with the PTO.

Board of Directors, Wanda Sports Group Company Limited, Wanda Plaza, Tower B, 9th Floor, 93 Jianguo Road Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, Attn: Mr. Yimin Gao–CEO

Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer, World Triathlon Corporation, 3407 W. Martin Luther King Blvd, Suite 100, Tampa, Florida 33607

Dear Members of the Board:

We are writing on behalf of the Professional Triathletes Organisation (the “PTO”) and note with interest your public announcement that the Wanda Sports Group Company Limited (“WSG”) is in preliminary discussions concerning the possible sale of its worldwide triathlon and mass participation business (the “WTC Business”). We further note that the WSG Board has yet to respond to our letter dated 3rd of February 2020, in which we advised the Board that the PTO is prepared to enter into discussions regarding the acquisition of the WTC Business and to consider an all-cash transaction or one in which the existing shareholders of WSG are able to participate in the growth of the WTC Business that the PTO and its professionals are uniquely able to deliver. In our letter we also advised the WSG Board that we are prepared to work with other groups who may be interested in acquiring the WTC Business.

We strongly believe that our involvement in the sale process will enable the WSG shareholders to maximise the value of any sale of the WTC Business, and failure to allow the PTO the opportunity to be part of any sale process will adversely affect the WSG shareholders. We believe that this proposal represents a unique opportunity to realise significant value for WSG shareholders and the employees of WTC, and that the PTO can uniquely provide a healthy and growing environment for the WTC Business. The PTO and North Point Advisors, our financial advisors, are prepared to begin discussions forthwith with your senior management and your financial advisors and to sign a customary confidentiality agreement in order to commence certain due diligence.

We hope that you share our enthusiasm and that the WSG Board, in the exercise of its fiduciary duties, delivers a prompt and favourable reply to us. As the WSG Board has failed to respond to our previous good faith approach, we will publicly release a copy of this letter. We would urge you to convey to any potential bidders with whom you may be in discussions our view that the cooperation of the PTO in the operations of the WTC Business is vital to its valuation and its ongoing and future success and, further, in our view, the continued failure of the WSG Board or any potential bidder with whom you may be in discussions to engage with the PTO in a constructive and cooperative manner may have an adverse effect on the WTC Business and the WSG shareholders. We would accordingly request that if there are any restrictions in any Non-Disclosure Agreements prohibiting potential bidders from engaging in discussions with the PTO, that they be waived so that WSG shareholders are able to maximise the sale price of the WTC Business.

Respectfully yours,

Charles Adamo –– Chairman

Sam Renouf –– Chief Executive Officer

Rachel Joyce –– Athlete Director

Dylan McNeice –– Athlete Director

P.T.O. Putting 2 Million Bucks in Pockets of 100 Top Pro Triathletes for 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND: The Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced that it has adopted a $2,000,000 Annual Bonus Programme pursuant to which athletes will be paid based on their PTO World Rankings at the end of 2020. The bonus amounts range from $100,000 for the PTO World No. 1 male and female athletes, to $10,000 for the PTO World No. 20 male and female athletes. In addition, male and female athletes ranked at the end of the year between 21-50 shall each be paid $5,000 and those ranked between 51-100 shall be paid $2,000.

Rachel Joyce, Co-President of the PTO commented, “We are very pleased to be able to adopt an annual bonus programme that rewards athletes for outstanding performances throughout the year. The triathlon season is a long one and just because an athlete might have an off race in a large event, doesn’t mean that their year’s performance should go unrewarded.”

The PTO World Rankings is a first-of-its-kind ranking technology to measure the greatest non-drafting professional triathletes. It is a worldwide benchmark of consistent excellence in triathlon. In addition to being the basis for the PTO Annual Bonus Programme, it is used to determine automatic qualification spots for The Collins Cup.

Tim O’Donnell, Co-President of the PTO, stated, “The adoption of the PTO Annual Bonus Plan, together with the $2,000,000 payments at The Collins Cup, means that so far in 2020 the PTO will be paying 200 professional triathletes $4,000,000. We believe that this demonstrates the value and benefits of professionals being unified in our own organisation and we hope that this is just the beginning of the many ways the PTO can bring not only a voice but meaningful contributions to our sport.”

All licensed professionals are eligible to be members of the PTO and there are no costs or memberships fees. More information can be found at protriathletes.org or by e-mailing us at membership@protriathletes.org.

About The Professional Triathletes Organisation

The Professional Triathletes Organisation is a not-for-profit entity representing the body of professional triathletes. The PTO seeks to showcase the passion, talents, determination, struggles and achievements of the dedicated professionals who strive to realise the highest levels of the sport and inspire all those who are a part of the triathlon community. The PTO will host The Collins Cup from May 28-30, at the world-renowned x-bionic sphere® in Samorin, Slovakia. For more information go visit thecollinscup.com

PTO Taking Another Run at Purchasing IRONMAN

LONDON, ENGLAND–BOULDER, USA; 4th February 2020: The Professional Triathletes Organisation today released the following letter sent to the Board of Directors of Wanda Sports Group Company Limited on 3rd February 2020 advising the Board that the PTO has closed on its financial partnership with Crankstart Investments and renewing the PTO’s proposal to enter into discussions to acquire the IRONMAN® business.

Dear Members of the Board:

We are writing on behalf of the Professional Triathletes Organisation (the “PTO”) to advise you that we have closed on our partnership financing with Crankstart Investments. We again want to put forth our proposal to enter into discussions for the acquisition by the PTO of all of the assets of the Wanda Sports Group Company Limited (“WSG”) related to its worldwide triathlon and mass participation business (the “WTC Business”).

The PTO is prepared to consider an all-cash transaction or one in which the existing shareholders of WSG are able to participate in the growth of the WTC Business that the PTO is uniquely positioned to deliver. We strongly believe that it is only with the assistance of the PTO and its professional athletes that the WTC Business has the ability to stabilise and grow, and that without our cooperation the WTC Business would deteriorate. We are happy to work with any other financially stable group who may be interested in acquiring the WTC Business, reducing its debt load and unleashing the value only the PTO and its professional athletes can deliver.

The PTO and North Point Advisors, our financial advisors, are prepared to begin discussions forthwith with your senior management and your financial advisors and to sign a customary confidentiality agreement in order to commence certain confirmatory due diligence. In light of the significance of this proposal to your shareholders and the triathlon community, as well as the potential for selective disclosures, we will publicly release the text of this letter tomorrow morning.

We believe this proposal represents a unique opportunity to realise significant value for WSG shareholders and employees, and that the PTO can uniquely provide a healthy and growing environment for the WTC Business.

We hope that you and your Board share our enthusiasm and, consistent with applicable fiduciary duties, we look forward to a prompt and favourable reply.

Respectfully yours,

Charles D. Adamo––Chairman

Sam Renouf––Chief Executive Officer

Rachel Joyce––Co-President

Tim O’Donnell––Co-President

PTO Announces Intent to Buy IRONMAN

From the staff of 220Triathlon.com

The Professional Triathlon Organisation (PTO) have announced that they have approached WANDA with the intent to acquire Ironman and its assets. We spoke to Sam Renouf, CEO of the PTO, to find out more about the decision and what it means for triathlon

Why has the PTO made the decision to try and buy Ironman?

Ever since Providence Capital Partners first saddled WTC with $200 million debt and prepared for their exit sale, the business has been starved of investment. When WSG acquired WTC it burdened the operation with additional debt, thus restricting any ability of the dedicated management to invest and promote the business.

Our goal in acquiring the Ironman assets is to free it from this excessive debt burden and we are in discussions with partners where a healthy portion of equity is injected into the business to reduce interest payments and increase investment in things like promotion, production, race standards and prize money, and maybe even a health insurance programme for professionals.  

You must admit something is wrong when athletes like Matt Russell and Tim Don are reduced to GoFundMe pages and charitable sponsor donations to pay medical bills after bike accidents at a World Championship Event. It is actually heartbreaking to see, and to be honest, we are a bit surprised the community is not more upset by this.  

How confident are you this will happen – has there been any signs from Wanda that they’re open to this?

While we have not had any overt signs from Wanda before our letter, our bankers, North Point Advisors, have analysed the WSG Financial Statements and the performance of the IPO, and have advised that this an opportune time to start discussions.Since we have now sent our letter and released it publicly, we will not be permitted to comment on any ongoing discussions. 

Read the rest HERE