Interesting… It looks to me, a lot like SLT are outplaying and maneouvering IM at every step at the moment…
Working in partnership with national bodies like British Triathlon, live free-to-view coverage in 179 territories, bringing in big IM focused names like LCB and obviously a close relationship with Zwift. Today they’ve announced it will include a para tri event too… with Olympics hopefuls all on the start line…
I’ll admit, i’ve got a bit of a downer on IM as a business at present, but even so, they are looking a little bit out of date and out of touch right now compared to SLT. They need to get their act together, because a poorly managed and delivered Rouvy based virtual series with little in the way of any innovation, and nothing but late notice cancelled IRL events, just looks a bit crap in comparison.
If SLT carry on landing punches like this, they could well finish off IM while they are weakened.
I’m sure that larger event organisers will be able to eventually find new venues that fits whatever event types they want to run.
The bit that is much much harder will be building the right culture within the organisation, of innovation and customer service, and that’s the battle front that I think SLT and Challenge are going to win upon.
IM may have the flagship event with Kona, but history is littered with huge brands associated with a dominant presence, that disappeared in very short order once an innovator appeared in their market with an offering that genuinely appealed to customers.
Often, as has been suggested above, the physical representation of the brand survives in the form of a logo and company name, but the content and substance behind it, are long gone, along with its glory days.
I’m not wanting to overplay it, but I seriously think that IM are within a year of the point of no return, and their actions between now and then will be critical to their future as they current exist. It takes one clever, yet to be realised or dreamt up move, from a Challenge or SLT and IM are screwed.
If I were to be a betting man (which I’m not), then i’d predict a merger/acquisition between SLT and Challenge before too long, and the appearance of a really creative idea focused on raising the stakes, profile and interest within a much wider audience, with lots of high profile media coverage to create a very marketable brand and draw in a lot of cash. SLT have been very clever in taking a simple concept, and making it a key part of a pro circuit, heavily branded and cleverly promoted. They are not short of ideas, contacts, or ability.
Having seen first hand how closely Challenge is working with the PTO, the team and their Billionaire backer I’d say a Challenge/PTO merger/acquisition is more likely but working with SLT on key events and partnerships. PTO are investing very heavily in skills at the moment.
I think we’re seeing this at the Arena Games with several PTO/LD athletes on the start list.
I’d love Challenge to do a Long course world championship which rotates around the world. Why Hawaii is the only location for the premier event is beyond me (I mean, I know the history…). The heat and wind means it favours some athletes over others.
Ironman™ is dead, long live IronChallengeMan™
I hope they get someone with better branding nous than me
I’m not arguing with your other points, but I’m not sure we’re on the same page here - the SLT and Challenge events have looked great on TV because they’re in a stadium or beside a pool. You can’t ever do that with 5000 age groupers however long or short you make the event.
I think we are agreeing, as i’m of the same view as you! … I can’t see a way to make long course racing (in its current format) interesting to watch.
I’m however, arguing that the majority of IMs revenue comes from aspirational, often one-and-done entrants, and it only takes someone to create an event that is considered way cooler, or generates much more kudos for finishers, and their core revenue stream is gone, and then IM is stuffed… that event might combine pros, AG’ers, and TV coverage in very different ways to what we do now… who knows?
As an example, we discussed recently the idea of Ineos creating a well funded tri team, and very visibly trying to bring cycling audiences and pro cyclists over the bridge and vice versa… it only take something like that, and potentially boom!