Four reasons the Super League Triathlon series is relevant for our sport.
October 4, 2017 | NEWS|
Super league happened again last weekend, although I have to say it was with a smaller degree of fanfare then when the event kicked off in Hamilton island. But this race series is relevant and should be supported.
So let’s deal with what we saw as a less than hyped race. The key to this might be the space in between the first and second events. There was a gap of months and this allowed the momentum to slide. There was a lot of talk around version 1.0 in Hamilton Island. The same story was wheeled out again in the build up, but nothing too new to get your heart pumping. Women were added, but it seemed a "paint by numbers" approach. Despite that, this series is important.
Firstly the pros get treated like, well pros. Super League is aiming to unify the pro story and give the professionals their own space to compete. There are no age groups featuring in the narrative of Super League. It is solely a "star vehicle" for the professionals. And, yes, some races try to mimic this, but at the end of the day they tack on the pro race to the fully booked age-group set up. It is not designed around the professionals. It is an add on.
Paid right. This is a factor too. Like the pros being treated as pros. The fact that Super League has ponied up the coin to entice the best can’t be overlooked. Think about it. It makes sense to push to the main-stream media (a place Super League wants to inhabit). The message is that this is a full set up that also has a significant prize purse attached. And, while it can’t be a case of keeping up with the Jones’ in relation to the amounts, there is still something to talk about. Think about it, poker might the most boring thing in the world, but it becomes compelling with a few million in the middle of the table.
Repeatable product. There are two elements working in the favour of the Superleague model. First of all it is a repeatable set up. It doesn’t require all the infrastructure of an Ironman, which means it can be set up in any city in any part of the world. Secondly, athletes can race this course and distance multiple times in a season, making the probability of a Super League "season" a realistic goal. Athletes can recover quicker from a days racing at Superleague a heck of a lot easier, making this a an attractive set up for those wanting to make a start.
Set up for TV. This has to be one of the big "what ifs" in Super League. This is a product built for TV. Not much else. Take a look at the crowds at the venue. In short there are none. The "crowd" in Jersey was non existent. And, weather aside, this is a race built for TV. And you would think, then, that this is a unique sponsorship experience for the corporate world. But, with the big gaps in between races, this is proving to be a little more problematic. Once the series gets traction it will become a good product. Given the effort going in to it it, surely must be ready to take off and find it’s corporate feet.
In a sport that sees so little professionalism by way of race set up, Super League is one of the best in show. Establishing a foothold and a narrative that the sporting world can embrace is a tough ask, but if triathlon is about to move out of the kindergarten, this might well be the vehicle to do it.