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ED. Last week MTN contacted most of our state's multisport directors about marketing their events in 2018. It should be noted here that the future of of sport in Minnesota is a hot topic with most of the directors. They all want to figure out what they can do, and what athletes (and support resources like MTN) can do, to reverse the downward trend that Triathlon has been in for the last half dozen years. Clint Agar responded immediately, and he has given us permission to post his letter. Please read. It's good stuff. And so important.

 

Hey MTN Guys,

 

Looks great! We will be in again for MN Tri news advertising. 

 

I've given a good amount thought into how to grow the sport of triathlon in MN and, of course, our event. Looking forward, overall triathlon growth is going to need an increase over time in the number of female athletes participating. Our event, in particular, attracts men 2:1 over women. We can't afford any decrease in male participation with our female participation being so low. The last running boom paralleled an explosive growth in female participation. If triathlon can evoke appeals to both genders I think we will see paralleled growth in triathlon. 

 

One of our changes in 2018 will be to change the name of Superior Man Tri to just Superior Tri. It's a subtle but important change. Female-only tris are making the sport more inviting, but more can be done to change the undertone of the broader culture and this is our way of leading that change. We will be vocal about it. ...

 

 

 

A second change we are making is that our race will be 100% free for athletes that are 22 and under. And we want to market this heavily. This will be a one time deal. We had 4 athletes under 24 years of age between both our distances last year...sad. I'd like to see 50 or more in 2018. It might turn into a big initial cost but I think we'll see a return over the long run by bringing young athletes into the sport. Hopefully, this will as well create an incentive for younger athletes to sign up for other races in the region to prepare for our event. We'll be encouraging it.

I only have numbers on our event which is probably skewed because of a number of variables: the race distance, proximity to the start of college classes, location, etc.. But, numbers seem to be down amongst younger athletes in all the races I was at last year. It would be nice to see some statistics on MN triathlon demographics.  

 

Do you follow Dan Empfield of Slowtwich? He has written a lot lately on the state of the sport. Below is an email that he sent me a couple days ago. The TBI conference seems worthwhile to attend...and it's in AZ, your old stomping grounds! 

 

Hope all is well and Happy Holidays!

 

Clint

 

Dan's Letter: 

 

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My favorite industry peeps:

 

Since 2012 I've been writing you that we're in for a rough ride in triathlon, and that the down cycle we're in was going to last most of the decade of the aughts.  It has.  (I suspect you've noticed.)  I've been through both the triathlon booms (1981-1988, and 1999-2011), and both the triathlon busts (1989-1999, and 2012-current).  I'm pretty sure I know how long these cycles take, and I think we're getting ready for the bust to end and a new boom to begin.  

 

There are positive signs already (which we'll discuss at our upcoming TBI Conference).  There will be winners and losers the hallmarks of the winners is what we'll discuss at this conference.

During this conference a NUMBER of significant, forward-thinking announcements are going to be made.  I'm going to announce some things myself, at a lunch prior to the start of the conference, in Tempe, on the 26th of January, which I'm catering.  It's an RSVP affair, which I'm underwriting.  I'm not the only one making big announcements at this Conference.  This is an important conference to attend.

 

But this conference will not be all business.  We'll be swimming, cycling and running every morning (well, you'll be doing 1 of the 3, if you so choose).  Felt is providing the bikes.  But, look, you can't just wait!

 

1.  There is a fixed number of Felt bikes.  We need to take your reservation.  If you want to reserve a Felt bike (probably a road race bike) I need your size and your intention to reserve this bike.  Just email me back and let me know.

2.  We have REALLY cheap hotel room rates right now, but this discount ends in a week.

3.  Conference registration rates go up on the 1st of January.

4.  Flights to Phoenix are dirt cheap right now.

 

Thanks for reading.  I hope I see you at the TBI Conference, and I hope your business prospers in 2018.  I'm at your service if I can help make that happen.

 

Best,

 

Dan Empfield

Publisher, Slowtwitch, Inc. 

President, Triathlon Business Intl

Comments   

+1 #1 Darin 2018-01-03 16:19
So, after analyzing the results of 45 Minnesota triathlons in 2017, I found that there were only 311 more men participants than women. The largest triathlon, by far, was the YWCA women's only race with 1069, but in only 5 other races did women out number men. Lifetime had the highest difference between sexes at 227 in the Olympic event and 98 in the sprint. The risk with sex based marketing is possibly flipping the data, which appears to be the case in running races, where women tend to outnumber men 60%-40% (esp. in shorter races). I think the two things that need to be done to increase participation is lower costs (equipment, fees, etc) and promote to younger folks. I think the idea of free entry may go a bit far, but it is a good start. Better still to get younger folks decent bikes that don't cost $3-5000, and all the other extravagant costs associated with the sport. It's one of the reasons I left the sport and am having trouble getting back in.
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