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Taking the WTC Private

Brett Sutton, coach of World and Ironman champions, Team TBB has been making waves again by proposing in blog posts to celebrate his 5,000th tweet, that "we" should take the WTC aka World Triathlon Corporation private for the benefit of the sport and the athletes. [Part 1, Part 2]

I'm somewhat confused by Doc's motivation, although the idea is an interesting one. In reality, unless someone is prepared to invest serious money though, it's a complete non-starter. The history of the WTC is somewhat complex, it is, as is the way these days, the result of many mergers and acquisitions. Wikipedia has a good history of the current WTC and how it came into being. The WTC is currently owned by VC company Providence Equity Partners.

In response to Suttons proposal I wrote the following comment. I've received no contact, so I can only assume Doc was flying a very big kite, or has some back channel process going on to look at the reality.

"So, I would be willing to put up stake money to start a real investigation into the costs of doing this. It's very likely though it would be in the 10's of millions, perhaps $50-million or more to buy the WTC.Acquisitions normally work on a P/E ratio of between 3-5x earnings. There is a simple explanation here http://www.angelblog.net/Business_Valuation_-_What_will_your_company_sell_for.html

Since the WTC accounts are not publically available; figure entry fees, advertising, sponsorship, revenue from other programs, call it a minimum of $10-million per year What then, how would you get even a stretch of your money back?

We would be better off for a start for teams, like Team TBB, but not exclusively, to stop racing WTC races, period. Put all the pro's into alternative races, to fund those alternative races, focus on the positive aspects of long course races, funding pro's, marketing etc. In effect, a highline boycott of the WTC. If we then funded the growth of those same series, the advertising revenue and age groupers would follow; where the age groupers go, so go the sponsors. No company cares if a couple of hundred pro's use their kit, want they want is millions of age groupers to see a few pros race in kit.

This would have at least three results if effective.
1. The WTC overtime would become a 2nd class citizen.
2. As a result of 1. the amount spent on races would fall, and in order to gain the pro field back they'd have to restructure prize money, home stays, travel, expenses etc.
3. It would boost the awareness of the alternative races; as you say many of the others are just as good, or better. This raised awareness, and especially a non-American focus should draw additional advertising and money into the sport.

However, you'd have to write off, or take on the US market in a big way. The only way you'd convince the bulk of US age groupers to race something other than WTC, is to take on the whole of US Culture. Hero worship, the right to boast, and self aggrandisement are legion here. The ability to "finish" an ironman is a right of passage. You'd be battling 30-years of NBC Ironman Hawaii broadcasts to change that.

If you had a plan, a race series, or organizers that would be a place start. You could then offer either sponsorship plans, reward system offering race entries etc. in response to donating, sponsoring or offering prize money or somesuch. Without it, where do we start, US or elsewhere?

++Mark. (Wongstars travel sponsor)."
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