q Con­grat­u­la­tions, Chris. It’s been a great year for SL – what’s been your high­light? Q What made you set up the Su­per League Se­ries? Q The Se­ries’ pop­u­lar­ity has seen in­cred­i­ble growth in a very short space of time. Did you an­tic­i­pate that? The Su­per Lea

220 Triathlon Magazine - - 220 AWARDS 2018 -

A With­out ques­tion it was watch­ing the men’s En­duro for­mat on Jersey for our open­ing race. With live elim­i­na­tions hap­pen­ing as the race went on, and the world’s best ath­letes in peak form, to see that race un­fold and the four-man show­down that took place was re­mark­able. I was sit­ting in the com­men­tary box with Alistair Brown­lee, and we both took a sec­ond to pause, looked at each other and just smiled. It was one of those, ‘this is in­cred­i­ble rac­ing’ mo­ments. A I be­lieve the best tal­ent is in the shorter dis­tances and they of­ten mi­grate to Iron­man too early. So we set up the SLT Cham­pi­onship Se­ries be­cause we be­lieve that, if given the right op­por­tu­ni­ties, these ath­letes can be su­per­star sports stars. Me­dia is chang­ing and the way peo­ple con­sume it is also chang­ing.

But the sport needed to be more en­gag­ing and ath­lete-fo­cused. Like T20 did with cricket, you have to stay true to the core fun­da­men­tals but you also need to in­stall change. We be­lieved that if we could build the plat­form and the rac­ing en­vi­ron­ment, the tal­ent would do the rest. We started this se­ries with a top-down ap­proach, not a bot­tom up one. Peo­ple said we were crazy, but these ath­letes are truly wor­thy of recog­ni­tion be­yond what is cur­rently be­ing given. A When you bring the best ath­letes to­gether in any sport, and make them race off in very dif­fi­cult con­di­tions and for­mats, it’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing to the con­verted mar­ket. The is­sue with triathlon is the con­verted fan base and par­tic­i­pa­tion base is not wide enough as of yet to make it com­mer­cially vi­able. This is why Iron­man is al­most spon­sor-less and keeps in­creas­ing en­try costs.

My opin­ion is that peo­ple like to con­sume me­dia that they can truly re­late to. So­cial me­dia and all these things con­nect us, but the true value of a ‘real ex­pe­ri­ence’, in my opin­ion, is get­ting more and more valu­able. We see this as the cat­a­lyst for what we do. Build­ing ath­lete stars, build­ing a se­ries around them and grow­ing the au­di­ence base is crit­i­cal, but then al­low­ing peo­ple to be im­mersed and in­cluded in this is crit­i­cal.


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