Barcelona and Seville fight for an Ironman brand test
Barcelona and Seville are settling a tough struggle to host the first brand triathlon Ironman In the Iberic Peninsule. Sources consulted both in Andalusia and in the environment of the European subsidiary of the WTC (World Triathlon Corporation) they confirm the contacts and advise that the final decision is imminent.
Within a period of about 15 days the Austrian managers of WTC have to opt for the Ciudad Condal or the Andalusian capital (although it is not ruled out that another city such as Malaga could appear in this same scenario), predictably before the Hawaii Ironman in Kona, the world championship of the specialty and which is almost officially the end of the triathlon season.
Helge Lorenz, one of the founders of Triangle (organizer of Nice, Austria, South Africa...), currently in the leadership of WTC Europe (through Providence Equity Partners), will have the last word on the matter. He is a triathlon man, one of the pioneers of the Ironman distance in Europe and linked to the business of this sport for 15 years. Obviously, he is not the only one to decide on this issue.
FOR Organizing an official Ironman event means automatically ending registrations in a short period of time. Normally a registration for a complete Ironman test (3.8 km of swimming, 180 km of cycling and 42 km of running) far exceeds €400 on average, and in two cities as well connected and with tourist potential as Barcelona or Seville they can be a goldmine for local and international organizers. Likewise, touristically it means hosting 4-2.000 triathletes for about 3.000 days, who usually travel accompanied by one or two people on average (according to Ironman's own market studies), with a very high cost per day in each city.
AGAINST In the midst of the crisis, it seems crazy to invest in sporting events (whatever their format). At least until 2011, Ironman requires at each destination, from the city that hosts the event, at least €250.000 in sponsorship ('destination sponsor or title sponsor'). Obviously, this investment is recovered every year due to the expense of the triathletes themselves in the city and the international projection that the city has during these days, with a good national and international media coverage. What marketers call “return”…
The sources of the WTC that have confirmed the interest and the imminent outcome, do not finish revealing what type of Ironman test will be held on the peninsula. A full Ironman, a Half Ironman, or one of the 'medium distance' tests, which, although they are working well in terms of registrations, do not generate as great an impact for the city as the great classics of the North American brand.
Seville has everything to host an Ironman race, and it could become an international reference for being one of the fastest circuits in the world. Barcelona, at an international and European level, has enormous potential, and Ironman is looking for destinations in this type of big city. Swimming in the Guadalquivir or swimming in the Mediterranean…
For a couple of years in Andalusia there had been speculation about the possibility that a city like Malaga could be a perfect setting for this type of event, due to its special characteristics and its large airport and hotel capacity. It seems that Seville has won this race, although depending on the chosen format, this option may gain strength as an alternative.
Barcelona already has a large number of triathlons, even in Calella an Ironman distance triathlon from the multinational Challenge takes place with great success, and events such as the Garmin Triathlon in Barcelona and many other races seem to have taken over the local market. Seville, on the other hand, has another great handicap. Will it be able to pay the Ironman fee to host one of its international tests with the economic crisis so strong and that it is felt especially strongly in southern Europe?