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
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.