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Date: October 01, 2017

Author: Jan Fambro


The biggest challenges facing triathlon today

In a recent member survey, we asked this question and received the answers below:

  • Amazon.com
  • eCommerce replacing retail
  • Linking commerce to the tri audience more successfully
  • We need to keep our customers coming back and also get new people into the sport

with a related tie-in to retailers/manufacturers
  • Declining registrations
  • Increasing costs to host a race
  • Participation; lack of participation
  • Sport participation trending down
  • Growth (lack thereof)
  • Declining participation and an aging athlete population, energizing a younger demographic
  • Getting more people into the sport and maintaining the people in the sport
  • "Fun" runs/rides/events that are not triathlon, and not running events
  • Participant growth.  This will come at the margins, from casual participants.  The elites are important, but as we have seen in cycling and currently with the USATF, they cannot sustain interest or drive numbers. If triathlon is intimidating, TBI can help influence the folks who make it that way
  • Success of larger organizers at the detriment to grass roots organizers
  • Monopoly on long distance events, lack of choice, consumer confidence in sport waning, other offerings
  • The dominance of IRONMAN
  • This varies whether in the U.S. or international, but in the U.S., participation numbers and getting women involved
  • Race fees, number of races
  • Unfriendliness to new/beginning athletes
  • Contraction of the market appears an issue, particularly within the event space. But there are opportunities, i.e. in digital, in coaching and helping the athlete be their best

  • Cost of gear and race registrations
  • Athlete burnout
  • Lack of athletes! The sport is too expensive to enter due to the high cost of gear

  • No lobbying and no consolidated voice of the industry
  • Lack of cohesive governing body
  • Shrinking sport that is being led by a weak governing body
  • Lack of focus on age-groupers and driving membership

  • Obesity, aging, limited kids and youth programs, less sports at schools, less offerings of high quality, confusion of people outside of triathlon
  • Lack of innovation
  • Demographics
  • Downside of trend
  • Cheaters and entitled millennials
  • Elitist mentality. Lack of respect
  • The announcement that Mixed Team Relay is going to be in Tokyo 2020 is something the industry can build on over the next few years
Have we missed any?  Let us know on our Facebook page.
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Biggest Challenges Facing Triathlon
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