Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ben Fertic, President and CEO of World Triathlon Corporation : "Boy is my face red!"

Video is down, use this link: [Link]

I want to thank Shelia in Texas for this. I love Mr. Fertic's explanation: "We were trying to free up more slots for you by allowing you to pay more." That does not wash but I credit him for appreciating the feedback he received.

The solution to creating more slots for competitors is to create more races. The fact that competitors are gaming Ironman events by carpet bombing these races with entry fees hoping one of the races would grant the athlete a slot; (If his explanation is true), is due to the fact that there are not enough races. The solution: Add more races not more fees.


Scubapro said...

The problem is not enough races, it's too many people buying in who are using races like a yearly vacation and/or buy into a few races because they don't know which one they are going to do. Those slots they buy and don't use can't be sold or given to others so they are lost. WTC should cross check by database and limit a slot a person within a few month period. They should also make set of slots to IM virgins (again with database checks via USAT or their own database). They should also stop the practice of signups at the race for the next year so even the playing field of signing up.

Tony Austin said...

I don't know what the athlete demand for the Ironman is - perhaps they are all selling out?

The average entry fee for an Ironman is about $500. So paying $1000 for the right to pay your $500 first is strangely odd to me. That is three entry fees alone. Is the Ironman so crowded that people will enter more than three races in the hopes of getting into just one race?

Why not have a policy of no multiple entries for how fast do races fill up and how long odes it take to be notified you are in?

Sheila said...

I think you mean me by "Shelia in Texas" but I'm really Sheila in SoCal. ;)

Tony Austin said...

I am such a loser - sorry.

Ahelee said...

Tony - YES...
ALL Ironman races are selling out.
If you can't race for whatever reason, you forfeit your entry fee.

Scuba has some good ideas.

The sport of triathlon continues to explode with participation and excitement. It is thrilling to watch and coach these inspired athletes.
As you have said before, coached adult swim programs need to market to these athletes - and help triathlon keep their sport safe.

I was impressed with WTC yesterday even though it was probably, mostly about the money.
Still they came forward and addressed the athletes publicly in regard to their feedback. Which notably was from the sport's social network.

Tony Austin said...

They are selling out? WOW! I am sincerely impressed.

Well, then this absolutely confirms that there is an under supply of races and an over supply of athletes.

If you doubled the amount of races not only would WTC make more money but there would be enough races for the people who desperately want to get into one.

What are they doing right?

I talk to triathletes and doing an Ironman for them is like earning the right to do battle in "Vahalla" for a day.

(Trevor insists I get an Ironman tattoo even though it has been a trillion years.)

Ahelee said...

It would be interesting to see the no-show numbers on these races. They sell-out almost immediately after opening for registration, at least here in the US.

I would venture to say that while most triathletes say they are "in it for life", not many train all 3 sports for life.
And very very few compete in Ironman races year in and year out.
Marketing the Ironman image and the dream has to be ongoing since longtime retention relatively small.

Training/racing for ego or other goal fulfillment might be inspiring. But are these accomplishments enough to satisfy a person for a lifetime?

I think Scuba is right that people use the races as a goal combined as an opportunity to see the world. Nothing wrong with that as long as they prepare. :)

Tony Austin said...

In it for life? I think the average triathlete believes that; (I believed it), but the USAT demographics show that there is a significant drop-off in the middle forties.

36% of tiathletes are 35-44
19.6 of triathletes are 45-54
After 54 it is single digits or 6% for all the age groups combined up to 70+

7% are Under 25
12.8% are 25-29
15.7% are 30-34
19.9% are 35-39
17.3% are 40-44
12.1% are 45-49
7.5% are 50-54
3.5% are 55-59
1.6% are 60-64
0.6% are 65-69
0.3% are 70+

Swimming is essentially the eventual "Avalon" for endurance athletes. Less gravity, joint stress and injuries and you can still maintain that level of tri fitness and compete albeit in the pool or in the open water.

We got to get triathletes swimming in the winter - the water is always 80-degrees and triathletes, if they really want to improve need to work on their weakest events and make it one of their strongest.

Sheila said...

Well, l didn't start triathlon until I was 48. Coming from running which I started when I was 44. I am loving the swimming, but running is what I'm best at. Don't see giving that up. Plus you need something weight bearing. I hope it's triathlon for life for me. It is disappointing to me, though, to compete and have only 15-20 athletes in my AG in some races. As far as doubling the number of IM races...easy to say, but a lot of work to actually do it. How long would it take them to pull that off? I would think it would require a lot of time.

Tony Austin said...

The WTC has been doing it for decades. Don't you think they could do it in their sleep or is it hardwer than I imagine?

Plus, I am sure towns like Detroit, Buffalo, or Youngstown Ohio would be thrilled to have a race.

Scubapro said...

While Ironman has been around awhile the WTC's makeup has recently changed since it was sold to an equity firm a few years ago and the whoring of M Dot for money started rolling.

The races do sell out many times because those with money buy in/fly in to buy in/who you know in line right after the actual race after race day. Those that don't know if they can do that race usually have someone pay the fee and then once they get their race they want, get back some of the cash they put in and are happy but they just wasted a slot.

Many other triathletes don't usually have the ready cash/credit line to pay upfront for a slot and need to save up for a race as well as salt away money for the training, equipment, hotel, airfare, IM stuff there and other minimum things to make what might be their only IM trip an experience.

WTC chose money and not heart which is what many IM'ers have. The explanation is fickle and sad and had they just said the truth, the bitter taste they left in many triathletes would be totally gone and not leave many wondering if they should just find other 140.6 alternatives.

Tony Austin said...

So their solution to the problem was to allow the "obnoxiously rich" people an express line into a race thus freeing up more spots for the "bohemians" and thereby enrich themselves at the same time.

I must say your solution would grow the sport more so then the "express line" because I suspect a lot of passport sales would have canceled out the bohemians anyway since the passport became an ad hoc tax.