Donnerstag, 26. März 2020

Advance to Acquire the Ironman Group From Wanda Sports Group

Advance announced today that it has entered into a definitive stock purchase agreement with Wanda Sports Group Company Limited (NASDAQ: WSG) to acquire The IRONMAN Group in an all-cash transactioon at enterprise value of USD 730 million.

The IRONMAN Group and its portfolio of assets, which includes its flagship IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3® triathlons, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series®, and the Epic Series® of mountain biking races, among other events, makes up the largest mass participation sports platform in the world. From a single race on O’ahu, Hawai`i in 1978, The IRONMAN Group has owned, organized, promoted, and licensed endurance events for over 40 years, which now consists of more than 235 events in over 50 countries, across triathlon, running, trail running, cycling and mountain biking. Each year over one million international athletes participate in an IRONMAN Group race. 

Advance is committed to the future of The IRONMAN Group and believes in the long-term strength of its well-recognized brands and the dedication of its athletes, communities, employees and fans. Advance is a private, family-owned business that invests in a broad range of media and technology companies. 

Orkila Capital (“Orkila”) will co-invest in The IRONMAN Group and Jesse Du Bey, Managing Partner of Orkila, will rejoin its Board of Directors alongside Advance and Andrew Messick, President and CEO of The IRONMAN Group. Orkila is a growth equity firm focused on investments in the media, entertainment and consumer sectors. Du Bey, previously a Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners, led that firm’s 2008 investment in The IRONMAN Group. 

“Today is an important milestone for The IRONMAN Group. We are pleased with this partnership, which is a testament to Advance’s belief in the company,” said Andrew Messick, CEO of The IRONMAN Group. “We remain confident in our future; our focus and objectives are unchanged; and we are ready to face the opportunities and challenges ahead. Together with Advance and Orkila, we will navigate through the turbulent and uncertain period in front of us and continue to deliver the exceptional experiences for which we’re known. I’m also thrilled to welcome Jesse Du Bey back to the Board of Directors of The IRONMAN Group.” Messick continued, “We thank Wanda Sports Group for its support over the past four years and are proud of what we have accomplished together. We look forward to continuing our work in China with Wanda Sports Group in the coming years.”

“We are pleased to welcome The IRONMAN Group to the Advance family of companies,” said Janine Shelffo, Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Advance. “The core IRONMAN Group values of endurance and perseverance resonate strongly at Advance, a one hundred year-old business that has differentiated itself through long-term focus and commitment.  We are delighted to partner with Andrew and his executive team as they plan to resume exceptional race experiences for their passionate athletes, and to support the long-term growth of the business. We’re also pleased to join forces with Orkila and are grateful for the invaluable experience with The IRONMAN Group that they bring to our partnership.” 

“I look forward to this new chapter with The IRONMAN Group. Since I last worked with Andrew and his team, the company has experienced significant growth in its global triathlon event footprint and has successfully expanded into new areas such as running, trail running and mountain biking,” said Jesse Du Bey, Managing Partner of Orkila. “I am thrilled that Orkila is partnering with Advance, Andrew and The IRONMAN Group to help build this great family of brands into the future.”

As part of the transaction, Wanda Sports Group will continue to operate the IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3® triathlon series, Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series® and Epic Series® of off-road mountain bike races in China under an exclusive license agreement.

The transaction has no financing condition and is subject to customary regulatory approvals, with closing anticipated in the second quarter of 2020. 

Advance was advised by BofA Securities and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. The IRONMAN Group and Wanda Sports Group were advised by Credit Suisse and Reed Smith LLP. 

Links

About The IRONMAN Group
The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® VR™ Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf® presented by Westpac, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with more than 235 events across 50+ countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

About Advance
Advance is a private, family-owned business that owns, operates and invests in companies spanning media, entertainment, technology, communications, education and other promising growth sectors. Our mission is to build the value of our companies over the long-term by fostering growth and innovation. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data and Pop. Together these operating companies employ more than 15,000 people in 19 countries. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Discovery and Reddit. For more information visit www.advance.com. 
About Orkila
Orkila Capital LLC (“Orkila”) was formed in 2013, by Jesse Du Bey and Taylor Storms, to pursue proprietary and compelling growth equity investment opportunities in the consumer, media and entertainment sectors. Orkila invests in leading companies at the forefront of evolving market opportunities, including Mikkeller, Recognition Media (The Webby Awards), Antares Audio Technologies (Auto-Tune), Omnipollo and Bellator MMA. Additionally, the Principals of Orkila co-founded Crash Line Productions (Boston Calling Music Festival, Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival and others) as well as sourced and helped execute the 2008 purchase of World Triathlon Corporation (IRONMAN) on behalf of their prior firm. With over 30 years of experience, the Principals of Orkila seek to leverage their deep industry knowledge and relationships to focus on growth platforms with differentiated brands, IP or content. Orkila manages approximately $500 million of capital across three private equity funds and several Special Purpose Vehicles. For more information visit www.orkilacapital.com. 

Dienstag, 24. März 2020

Joint statement from the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to Covid-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
They were joined by Mori Yoshiro, the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; the Olympic Minister, Hashimoto Seiko; the Governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko; the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates; IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper; and the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi.
President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games. In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating”. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Montag, 23. März 2020

The IRONMAN Group Launches IRONMAN VR – A New Global Racing Series – and The IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge

IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series and IRONMAN Virtual Club will allow athletes to train, compete and stay connected with the close-knit athlete community around the world

The IRONMAN Group, a Wanda Sports Group company (Nasdaq: WSG), announced that it will add the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series to its portfolio, including the IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge that will debut on April 4 through the IRONMAN Now Page on Facebook Watch. The IRONMAN VR Series will be offered through the soon to be launched IRONMAN Virtual Club™, a web-based platform allowing athletes to train and compete from anywhere around the world at any time through the IRONMAN VR Series of weekly races and challenges.

“At the IRONMAN Group, our mission is to provide exceptional, life-changing race experiences for athletes of all levels from their first step to the finish line,” says Andrew Messick, President & CEO for The IRONMAN Group. “We believe that under extraordinary circumstances such as these, athletes should be able to maintain the structure and continuity that training and competition provides. The IRONMAN Virtual Club is an innovative digital platform that enables our athletes to continue training with purpose, remain connected to our community and provides an opportunity to compete through the IRONMAN VR Series.”

Athletes will compete in the traditional age-group categories and for select virtual races, will have the opportunity to earn qualifying slots to the 2020 IRONMAN®70.3® World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand scheduled to take place on November 28 and 29, 2020. Virtual races will begin on Fridays at 6 p.m. GMT and close Sundays at midnight GMT with the first competitive race, IRONMAN VR1, debuting on April 3. The format and distances may vary each race weekend. In order to be eligible for world championship slots, athletes will need to compete with devices providing GPS and heart rate data which will be uploaded to the IRONMAN Virtual Club platform. The IRONMAN Virtual Club platform will be compatible with most wearable technology and app trackers. Upon completion of a race, athletes will receive a finisher package including the collectible IRONMAN VR medal and finisher tees for that race. The IRONMAN Virtual Club will additionally provide an activity-based loyalty point system designed to motivate athletes as they train and reward them through merchandise, discounts and “money can’t buy” benefits.

During each weekend of competition, there will also be a Men’s and Women’s IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge. Two professional female athletes will compete on Saturday and two professional male athletes will compete on Sunday for prize money. Anyone around the world will be able to tune-in to the head-to-head battles through the IRONMAN Now Page on Facebook Watch. The coverage will also follow the competing age-group athletes through User-Generated Content shared on the interactive platform, allowing athletes to see how they match up against fellow competitors through live look-ins and leaderboard updates. Additionally, every Monday at 6 p.m. following the race weekend, the IRONMAN VR Rolldown Show will provide the best action from the weekend and an interactive live awarding of the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualifying slots. During the live coverage, the IRONMAN Foundation will also run Facebook fundraisers to provide support for our traditional host communities.

Donnerstag, 19. März 2020

COVID-19 Response. Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) pays athletes $2,500,000, inaugural Collins Cup moves to 2021

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.”

Mittwoch, 18. März 2020

IRONMAN Triathlon parent company Wanda Sports Group (Dalian Wanda) agrees US$ 240m loan facility with Credit Suisse

The funding will help Wanda Sports Group to refinance and prepay its existing annual term loan facility, dated 15th Match 2019. The agreement has been made at uncertain times for the sports industry due SARS-CoV-2 pandemie and global outbreak of COVID-19 infection, with Wanda Sports Group announcing earlier in the month that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak could have a ‘material adverse impact’ on the company. Continue on SportsPro.

Freitag, 13. März 2020

SARSCoV2: THE IRONMAN GROUP’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19

THE IRONMAN GROUP’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19



To our global community,

We know that both our athletes and our communities want to be racing; we do too.

While The IRONMAN Group’s mission is to provide exceptional, life-changing race experiences for athletes of all levels, from their first step to the finish line, we can only accomplish this by providing the safest possible environment, and safeguarding the citizens of our host communities.

COVID-19 has substantially altered the global sports landscape and will have material impact on the mass participation industry in the immediate term. We want to reassure you that the health and well-being of our community is our primary concern. To this end, we are doing our part to communicate effectively and follow public health agencies and governmental authorities’ recommendations.

We expect that there are going to be substantial and widespread event postponements in the coming weeks and months. The decision to proceed, restrict, modify or postpone an event will be based on availability of community resources and ongoing event-specific risk assessment in coordination with the relevant healthcare and government authorities and the IRONMAN Global Medical Advisory Board, an independent medical advisory board focused on health and safety.

For events that will continue, The IRONMAN Group, along with the IRONMAN Global Medical Advisory Board, has outlined a series of pragmatic and practical actions designed to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 or any other infectious agent to athletes and to members of our host communities. These steps will help athletes achieve their goals while allowing communities to secure the benefits of hosting mass participation sporting events. They will be implemented worldwide at all IRONMAN Group events beginning March 19 and will continue indefinitely.

Self-care and Risk Minimization
Athletes who are sick or have been potentially exposed to an infectious agent must not compete or attend events, as this puts others at risk. As a community, we each have a personal responsibility to protect each other by complying with this rule.

We ask that all athletes, volunteers and partners follow the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for basic protective measures against the new coronavirus:
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
  • Regularly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash your hands with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Practice good respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of used tissues immediately and appropriately in a bin.
Providing Flexibility to Athletes 
Certain races will be postponed or cancelled due to the outbreak and we will communicate these as soon as practical. Our goal will be to move the race to a date later in the year. We work in close partnership with the relevant public health authorities in the territories where the races take place and err on the side of safety for our athletes and the host community. If an event cannot occur on the scheduled date, we will take the following actions:
  • Postponement:  Registered athletes for events that are postponed due to COVID-19 by the local health authorities are automatically transferred to the rescheduled date. For those that the new date does not work, we will allow deferrals into the same event the next year.
  • Cancellation: Registered athletes for events that are cancelled due to COVID-19 by the local health authorities are automatically deferred to the same race in 2021.
  • Other options: We are vetting other options to allow displaced athletes to race in 2020 and will communicate those in due course.
  • Athletes in Quarantined/Restricted Territories: For athletes in certain designated quarantine or restricted territories who have registered for races that take place before June 1, 2020 and have NOT been postponed or cancelled, we will aid in finding alternative races later in the season.
For those who are sick, feel unwell, or have been potentially exposed to an infectious agent in advance of a race that will take place, do not come to the race; instead seek medical care. Once you have done so, contact the relevant Athlete Services representative for your race and we will attempt to find you another solution.

Safe Event Experience 
In order to provide the safest experience for our athletes, we are instituting the following at our races, effective March 19.  
  • Reinforcing Social Distancing in all elements of the event
    • The hours of on-site event registration will be expanded.
    • Athletes will be allowed to pick up their athlete race kit/race bib and immediately exit expo area.
    • Athlete density will be decreased by increasing individual race space staging, corrals, etc.
    • No-handshake behavior will be encouraged for the duration of the event.
    • Athlete briefing information will be available digitally only.
    • Non-core, high-contact services (e.g. wetsuit peeling) will be suspended. 
  • Hygiene First
    • Staff and volunteers who are interacting with participants pre-race, on race day and post-race will be provided gloves.
    • Hand-washing stations and sanitation stations around the venue for athletes, volunteers and spectators will be increased
    • No-touch waste disposal stations and receptacles will be rolled out as available.
    • Frequently touched surfaces at race venue locations such as workstations, product distribution areas, tables and electronic devices will be cleaned regularly.
    • When possible, on-course food and fluid supplies will be single use/single serving closed packaging
    • Athletes planning to return home by airplane or rail are encouraged to avoid travel post-event for 24 hours allowing their immune system time to recover post-race.
    • No onsite interviews or press conference with professional athletes.
    • No handshake/contact on the race podium.
    • Printed document distribution will be eliminated. 
  • Medical Service
    • Education and awareness training regarding signs and symptoms of COVID-19 will be provided to all medical and volunteer staff.
    • Frequent communication with health authorities and healthcare facilities will be implemented to assist in assessment, referral and initial management of suspected COVID-19 illness of staff, participants, volunteers, and spectators.

This is a highly dynamic situation and we will continue to adapt and adjust as appropriate. We appreciate your patience in the coming days and weeks. We recognize that this is a challenging time but our community will endure. We are inspired by your  ambition, and endeavor to be worthy of your commitment. As further updates are available, they will be posted at www.ironman.com/updates and www.runrocknroll.com/updates in addition to our individual event sites and social media pages. Thank you for your continued support, and we wish you the best in health and wellness.

Andrew Messick
President & Chief Executive Officer
The IRONMAN Group

Freitag, 21. Februar 2020

2020 IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch Schedule Announced with 19 Featured Events

Facebook Watch enters third year as exclusive digital home of live race coverage. he IRONMAN Group, a Wanda Sports Group company (Nasdaq: WSG), today announced it will continue live event coverage on Facebook Watch via the IRONMAN Now® Facebook Page for the third straight year, featuring 19 events from around the world in 2020. As the number of events receiving Facebook Watch live coverage has increased each year, so too have the fans tuning in. Over the past two years, more than 5.3 million people have watched at least one minute of an IRONMAN live event broadcast on Facebook.

Available globally to fans on Facebook, the 19 events covered this season will come from 12 different countries and four continents with coverage debuting on March 7 from the Nutri-Grain IRONMAN® New Zealand in Taupo. The storylines are rich with intrigue throughout the year as four regional championships will be featured including the IRONMAN African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa; the IRONMAN North America Championship in St. George, Utah; The Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns, Australia; and the Mainova IRONMAN European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany.

Back by popular demand will be the return of IRONMAN Austria- Kärnten, IRONMAN Italy Emilia-Romagna and the ever-challenging IRONMAN Wales.

Making their inaugural appearance on Facebook Watch will be the first edition of the Certified Piedmontese IRONMAN Tulsa, and IRONMAN Switzerland’s first stop in Thun, while Subaru IRONMAN Canada makes its long-awaited return to Penticton, British Columbia. Long-standing host cities Panama City Beach, Florida, USA and Santa Rosa, California, USA will join one of the oldest and most popular events on the global circuit, Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand, as each also makes their debut on IRONMAN Now.

IRONMAN will produce its live coverage for a connected audience, incorporating unique viewer interaction through Facebook Watch Parties, real-time polls, fan discussion, and user generated content from spectators along the course.

The Vega IRONMAN World Championship, which takes place annually in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i, will again receive robust week-long programming, culminating in nearly a full-day of live race coverage on October 10. Last year’s Vega IRONMAN World Championship included more than 20 hours of comprehensive live race day coverage, including everything from the early morning body marking to the final hour finish line celebration.

The extensive 2020 coverage concludes where it began in Taupo, New Zealand with the 2020 IRONMAN®70.3® World Championship taking place on Nov. 28-29. Nearly 6,000 of the best triathletes in the world will converge around The Great Lake Taupõ District for what will become the largest event in the series’ history.

The fully produced live event coverage will be hosted by past champions of IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events, including Dede Griesbauer, Matt Lieto, and Michael Lovato, as well as IRONMAN World Champions and Hall of Famers Paula Newby Fraser and Greg Welch.

Live race coverage of the following events as well as a range of on-demand programming will be available on Facebook Watch globally via the IRONMAN Now Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/IRONMANnow. The full 2020 schedule can be found below.

2020 IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch Schedule


  • March 7 Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand Taupo, New Zealand
  • March 29 IRONMAN African Championship Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa
  • May 2 IRONMAN North American Championship St. George, Utah, USA
  • May 31 Certified Piedmontese IRONMAN Tulsa Tulsa, Okla., USA
  • June 7 Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns, Australia
  • June 21 IRONMAN Hamburg Hamburg, Germany
  • June 28 Mainova IRONMAN European Championship Frankfurt, Germany
  • July 5 IRONMAN Austria-Kärnten Klagenfurt, Austria
  • July 12 IRONMAN Switzerland Thun, Switzerland
  • July 25 IRONMAN Santa Rosa Santa Rosa, Calif., USA
  • August 15 IRONMAN Kalmar Kalmar, Sweden
  • August 23 Subaru IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant Mont-Tremblant, Québec, Canada
  • August 30 Subaru IRONMAN Canada Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
  • September 6 IRONMAN Wales Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, United Kingdom
  • September 19 IRONMAN Italy Emilia-Romagna Cervia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • September 26 IRONMAN Portugal – Cascais Cascais, Portugal
  • October 10 Vega IRONMAN World Championship Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i, USA
  • November 7 Visit Panama City Beach IRONMAN Florida Panama City Beach, Florida, USA
  • November 28-29 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Taupo, New Zealand


Donnerstag, 20. Februar 2020

Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) Announces $2M Annual Bonus Programme, with Collins Cup whopping $4M purse

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 organization 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.”



Editor‘s note:

Together with the $2,000,000 prize purse from inaugural Collins Cup a new dimension in sport of triathlon is opened with contributions from PTO‘s support network around Billionaire Mike Moritz, who likely want to build a platform from the NBA, NFL, NHL league’s blueprint in the U.S. with various shareholders from different group of interests.

Dienstag, 18. Februar 2020

Wanda Sports considering $1 billion sale of Ironman triathlon, Bloomberg reports

Wanda Sports Group Co., part of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s conglomerate, is considering selling the global Ironman triathlon business it bought in 2015 for est. USD 650 million. Wanda Sports Group Co. is working with an adviser and has held discussions with some private-equity buyers that expressed interest in the business according to unnamed sources. The company holds also other sports assets outside China like Infront Sports & Media AG and many more.
A deal could come after Wanda Sports declined to enter talks last year with The Professional Triathletes Organization, which was interested in acquiring the Ironman business. The organization said at the time that excessive leverage has hampered Wanda Sports’s ability to invest in Ironman operations. 
Wanda Sports shares have dropped about 63% in New York trading since their July 2019 debut, paring the company’s market value to about $409 million. With total debt at about $968 million, the company has an enterprise value of about $1.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Read more on Bloomberg.

Dienstag, 4. Februar 2020

Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) Approaches Wanda Sports Renewing Interest In IRONMAN Acquisition and Expressing Willingness To Work With Other Potential Acquirers

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.

3rd February 2020

Board of Directors
Wanda Sports Group Company Limited
Wanda Plaza
Tower B, 9th Floor
93 Jianguo Road Chaoyang District
Beijing, China
Attn: Mr. Hengming Yang–CEO

Andrew Messick
Chief Executive Officer
World Triathlon Corporation
407 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”) 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

cc: David Jacquin
North Point Advisors
580 California Street
Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94104

Dienstag, 21. Januar 2020

Professional Triathletes Organisation Announces Financial Partner And $2,000,000 Collins Cup

The Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced that it has partnered with Crankstart Investments, an investment vehicle for Michael Moritz, in establishing a platform for professional triathletes to begin to realise their goal of athlete self-determination. As a result of this partnership, the PTO is also announcing that The Collins Cup will be held from 29-30th May 2020 at the x-bionic® sphere, in Samorin, Slovakia, and there will be over $2,000,000 in prize money for the event.

Rachel Joyce, Co-President of the PTO, commented “This day has been long in coming and we are grateful to the great professional triathletes who have, through all their blood and sweat over many years, paved the way for this opportunity to materialise. The Collins Cup will be a true celebration of both the history and the future of the sport we love so much, and we look forward to hosting the event and engaging the entire triathlon community.”

Charles Adamo, Chairman of the PTO, stated that “The PTO has been working for a number of years to create an environment and structure where professional triathletes have a meaningful voice in the way the sport is operated and can contribute to its growth for the benefit of the entire triathlon community. We are very pleased to have teamed up with Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz, who share our vision in the potential of the sport and the best means by which to see it grow and thrive.”

Under its partnership, the PTO and Crankstart Investments share equally in all profits generated by operations. Michael Moritz, Chairman of Crankstart Investments, commented “The spread of the internet, the rise in the number of media outlets thirsty for top-notch sporting content, combined with the latest production techniques now make it possible to bring to international audiences the extraordinary accomplishments of today’s highest performing athletes – the top forty male and female triathletes in the world. A major part of the attraction of the PTO is that, unlike every other sport, men and women compete for equal prize money and the athletes are co-owners of the business. This means that all participants will share, on an equal footing, in the PTO’s collective success – a recipe that is a mainstay of the Silicon Valley investment model.”

Tim O’Donnell, Co-President of the PTO, commented “We are very pleased to be able to provide professional triathletes with the platform to put on display their tremendous athletic performances and make a difference in our sport. We are grateful for the confidence that Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz have placed in us, and we appreciate that with this confidence comes great responsibility. As co-owners in this partnership, the PTO and its professional members are committed to not only making it a success, but also to being a contributor to the growth of the sport and the wider triathlon community. While arranging the investment, we were working behind the scenes and over 100 professional triathletes have become members of the PTO, including all of the top 35 men and top 35 women in the PTO World Rankings. Now that we have been able to make this announcement, we can invite all licenced professionals to become PTO Members. There are no costs or membership fees involved and any professional can find out more information by e-mailing us at membership[AT]protriathletes.org.”

North Point Advisors has acted as exclusive placement agent for the Professional Triathletes Organisation.

Professional Triathletes Organisation Announces The Inaugural Collins Cup With $2,000,000 Prize Purse

The Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced that the inaugural Collins Cup will be held on 29–30th May 2020 at the extraordinary x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Western Slovakia and will have a prize purse of over $2,000,000. It will bring together the greatest professional triathletes in the world in a team competition to do battle to see who dominates the sport.

USA vs. INTERNATIONSALS vs. EUROPE

Modelled after golf’s Ryder Cup, The Collins Cup is a competition among USA, Europe and the Internationals. Each team will consist of 12 professional triathletes, six men and six women. Eight athletes, four men and four women, will earn a place on their respective teams by way of the PTO World Rankings™ System and the remaining four athletes, two men and two women, will be selected by the non-athlete PTO Board Members with advice from Team Captains.

The Team Captains for The Collins Cup 2020 are:

USA
Mark Allen
Karen Smyers

INTERNATIONALS
Craig Alexander
Simon Whitfield
Erin Baker
Lisa Bentley

EUROPE
Normann Stadler
Chrissie Wellington

An athlete from each team will battle against one another in an individual race of three, so there will be 12 separate race matches, each staggered 10 minutes apart. Athletes will be awarded points for their team based on performances in their respective race match and the team with the most overall points from the 12 race matches will claim the spoils of The Collins Cup and bragging rights as the most dominant force in the sport. The team that finishes last will receive The Broke Spoke Trophy. Click here to view “How It Works”

Sam Renouf, CEO of the PTO, commented, “The format of USA vs Europe vs Internationals will add a whole new level of competition and pure excitement for triathlon. By adopting a proven format like the Ryder Cup with its nationalistic intensity, and having a points system that creates drama throughout the race, The Collins Cup is designed to be a compelling live TV event that appeals not only to the fans of endurance sports, but also to the general sports enthusiast.”

Tim O’Donnell, Co-President of the PTO, commented, “We could not be more thrilled with the first Collins Cup being hosted at x-bionic® sphere in Samorin. The primary mission of the PTO is to celebrate the sport of triathlon. The Collins Cup, by bringing together legendary team captains to lead today’s top triathletes in a battle to see which region dominates the sport of triathlon, will not only be a riveting competition, but will serve as a platform for professionals and fans alike to celebrate our sport.”

Zibi Szlufcik, Chairman of CHALLENGEFAMILY, commented, “We are delighted to be working with the PTO to host the inaugural Collins Cup at the extraordinary x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Western Slovakia. The spectacular venue could not be more perfect for the PTO’s inaugural event and the weekend promises to be a triathlon celebration unlike any other.”

Mario Hoffman, owner of x-bionic® sphere stated “It is a great honour for Slovakia, Šamorín and x-bionic® sphere to host such a magnificent event. I can say for the whole team that we are thrilled to be a part of history and we are ready to help with our knowledge and vast experience in organizing huge international sports events.”

Professional Triathletes Organisation Announces Selection Of Dave Scott As The Athleta Emeritus Honouree For Inaugural Collins Cup

The Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced that it has selected Dave Scott as the Athleta Emeritus Honouree for the inaugural Collins Cup. The Collins Cup is a Ryder Cup style triathlon event in which teams from the USA, Europe and the Internationals do battle to see who rules the world of triathlon. The Collins Cup is the flagship event for the Professional Triathletes Organisation, an association representing professional triathletes with a mission to celebrate the sport of triathlon.

The PTO has determined that each year the The Collins Cup race will honour an individual who has distinguished themselves in the sport of triathlon by recognising them as the Athleta Emeritus Honouree. For the inaugural Collins Cup, it has been decided that there would be no better person upon whom to bestow this honour than Dave Scott.

Tim O’Donnell, President of the PTO, commented “While we are deeply indebted to all the tremendous triathletes whose blood and sweat over many decades has paved the way for the PTO and The Collins Cup to become a reality, Dave was truly the progenitor of professional triathlon. In 1980, when, in his first IRONMAN® championship race in Hawaii, he cut nearly two hours off the previous record, he established standards of performance that would forever drive all triathletes, amateur and professional, to challenge limits thought impossible.  It is only fitting that the inaugural Collins Cup, the first ever event owned and operated by professional triathletes, pay tribute to Dave.”

It is nearly impossible to list all of Dave Scott’s accomplishments. The six-time IRONMAN® World Champion is known by the nickname “The Man” for his intense training regimens and his unrelenting race performances that created a record number of wins. Dave Scott is the Roger Bannister, Pele, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Jack Nicklaus of triathlon. His performances transcended what was ever thought possible.  On a full distance course, he was the first athlete to go under 11 hours, under 10:30, under 10:00, under 9:30, under 9:00 and under 8:30. He also was the first to go under 3:00 hours for the IRONMAN® marathon, the first under 2:55 and the first under 2:50.  He has spent a lifetime defining triathlon first as an athlete, then as a coach, including coaching European Collins Cup Captain, Chrissie Wellington.

Dave commented, “It is truly an honour to be named by the PTO as the Athleta Emeritus Honouree for the inaugural Collins Cup. I am thrilled to see the PTO come together. It has been 40 years in the making and I am very pleased to see today’s generation of professionals have their own organisation and a voice in the sport.  Given the $2,000,000 prize purse at The Collins Cup, I am very tempted to come out of retirement and attempt to qualify for the event myself.”

The Collins Cup is a unique new broadcast-friendly triathlon race which brings together the world’s greatest triathletes in a team competition to do battle to see who dominates the sport. Modelled on golf’s Ryder Cup, the format of USA vs. Europe vs. the Internationals will add a whole new level of competition and pure excitement to triathlon. The PTO will host the inaugural Collins Cup at the extraordinary x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Western Slovakia on 29-30th May 2020.