PTO Paying Pro Triathletes Now to Help With Crisis

In a podcast interview to be released on March 28th, Co-President of the Professional Triathlon Organization (PTO), Tim O’Donnell commented on the recent announcement about the PTO paying professional triathletes now rather than making them wait until the end of year.

“Michael Moritz, Chairman of Crankstart (the financing behind PTO), and Charles Adamo, (Chairman of PTO) have really showed amazing graciousness and a commitment to the athletes who rely on prize winnings by paying now and increasing the purse by half a million dollars,” said O’Donnell.

Tim O’Donnell, Kona 2019 with Rich Soares

LONDON, ENGLAND. 18 March 2020. The Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced its response to COVID-19 by increasing its Year-End Annual Bonus Programme from $2,000,000 to $2,500,000 and paying it all immediately based on the PTO World Rankings. The $500,000 increase would go to men and women athletes ranked 21-50, who previously would have been paid $5,000 each in a year-end bonus, but will now see that amount raised to $8,000, and men and women athletes ranked 51-100, who previously would have been paid $2,000 each in a year-end bonus, but will now see that amount raised to $5,000. Athletes will be paid based on their PTO World Ranking as of January 1 or March 15, whichever is higher.

During this period that the race schedule is disrupted, the top ten PTO World Ranked men and women athletes have committed to work together with the PTO to engage in appearances and online exhibitions and any revenue from these will be distributed to athletes ranked 20-100.

Rachel Joyce, Co-President of the PTO, commented, “The world finds itself in a difficult and almost unprecedented time. We appreciate that many people are struggling both physically and economically. For our athletes, like many others, the future is filled with uncertainty. With many races cancelled, the ability of our athletes to be able to race in the near future has been greatly reduced. The PTO has been looking for a way to support our athletes in this time of instability. We appreciate that many race operators and race directors are struggling with financial constraints and the PTO is fortunate to be in a position to be able to provide some support to our athletes. We hope that our response in paying athletes a total of $2,500,000 today will help them manage the immediate disruption they are experiencing. We are now looking to work with sponsors, governing bodies, race organisers and other groups in exploring additional opportunities to help alleviate the hardships that COVID-19 is causing to the triathlon community.”

Charles Adamo, Chairman of the PTO, stated that, “The actions taken by the PTO today are indicative of the way our athletes are viewed as valuable partners. Once events were being cancelled, the Crankstart Investments team immediately contacted us and wanted to find the best way to provide short-term support to the athletes. We will continue to monitor the ongoing impact and hope to be able to adopt additional programmes where athletes are not only supported, but also are able to provide support to others who may be struggling in this current environment. As an organisation, the PTO and its professional athletes will look to work with governing bodies, race directors, race organisers and our entire triathlon community to see how we are able to help.” 

The PTO also has also announced that under the current circumstances, The Collins Cup, scheduled for May 30, will need to be postponed and will be rescheduled for 2021 at the x-bionic-sphere®. For THE CHAMPIONSHIP, scheduled for May 31, Challenge Family and the x-bionic-sphere are working closely with the local authorities to determine if the event should and can be rescheduled for a later 2020 date. Sam Renouf, CEO of the PTO, commented that, “Given the complex and innovative broadcast production we were going to deliver for The Collins Cup, it is just impossible to logistically have all the worldwide vendors and suppliers gearing-up in this uncertain environment and be able to hold The Collins Cup this year.”

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