wildflower, bike, s2s

Insight into WTC Financing

[Former] Team TBB Super coach, and probably the most successful triathlon coach ever, Brett Sutton announced formally this week that he was resigning from Team TBB as he felt the athletes were being affected by his recently publically disclosed, but long held views on the future of long distance racing. Slowtwitch has it's usual excellent write-up on his resignation, I added comments as I thought appropriate.

"Doc" as Sutton is known has a new blog/web site including his thoughts on what he has termed "take back the sport". His plan involves getting 10,000 individuals who would pay a $100 fee to join and thus fund major races which would cut entry fees to a third of standard Ironman charge and which would also offer a substantial professional prize purse.

Back a while ago on the TBB web site, Doc first surfaced his ideas as some notion of taking back the sport, which initially seemed to be a proposal to buy Ironman back from the WTC. I'm kicking myself now because I can find those on the web for looking[I think they've been deleted]. Anyway, as a comment, I posited that it would take substantially more money that Sutton thought, offered to provide some upfront funding for accounting/consulting work. Nothing.

Since then, I've been keeping an informal spreadsheet, mostly of guesstimates on where and how the WTC makes money. Since the WTC is now owned by a private VC company there are no public accounts available, and so guesses is often all I have. We know some things, the price of race entries, we can approximate the revenue from these, but we don't know precisely how many foundation slots, Ironman Executive Challenge slots there are, and most commercial contracts the WTC has, are notoriously private.

You can get an interesting insight into a few of the ways the WTC gets money by looking at the local press, especially here in the USA, where the WTC has races. The local press is often the first place to find out what new races are being considered, they report on council meetings, most of which have open records. Todays insight comes azcentral.com in a November 6th report by Dianna M. Náñez on the a Tempe City Council meeting to discuss extending their contract with the WTC for Ironman through 2018.

The write-up reveals the price of this deal. The City of Tempe will pay the WTC " a $100,000 annual cash payment and in-kind services valued annually at $87,837. The city services include Tempe police and fire security, traffic operations and trash pickup."

It's reasonable to deduce from this that other councils pay the same amount or similar amount. I'd at least assumed the WTC would pay at least in most urban/metropolitan areas a fairly hefty bill for Police support.

For the record, the 1st Place prize money for the Male and the Female Pro is just $10,000 at the 2013 Ironman Arizona. Age group entry fee was $675 per person, and $1300 for a Foundation slot. Figure 100 Foundation slots, 2800 Age group entries and we are well on the money trail. It also makes the Pro prize purse look totally pitiful.

[Update 1. Corrected entry fee to $675, 8:26pm 11/7]
  • Current Location: Austin TX
  • Current Mood: Calculating
  • Current Music: Gui Borratto XLR8R Mag Mix