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Is Ironman "yesterday's news?"

Was listening to an interesting podcast on, the weekly multisport edition with commentator Barry Siff.  The discussion was about last weekend's Ironman finale in Hawaii.

Part of that content focused on the lack of big name sponsors in the sport and how the top competitors are trying to understand why consumer products companies don't leverage triathlon to market products.

Somewhere deep inside of me a book exists, on the fallacy of sponsorship and how most sports have already seen better days as far as sponsorship revenues.  From NASCAR to powerboats to motorcycles to billiards to bicycling, I've been there and done that.  And for many of these notable yet underfunded entities, I have one common response:  Promotions have been executed  many times before, it's no longer sexy, and marketers have developed other ways to do business.

Sport promotion is about innovation.  Sticking a company logo on the backside of a triathlete may garner exposure but it's just not today's news.  Anyone remember Team J David?  The Bud Light Series?  Both were in the sport, they're gone, and few others have stepped up to replace the vacuum they left behind.

I'm not a pessimist, but I am a realist.  From the corporate perspective, it makes more sense to invest in SEM (search engine marketing) and other ROI (return on investment) models so prevalent on the web. Sponsorship surely works in some categories, but after 20+ years of being on the sponsorship hunt, I can tell you without hesitation very little interest exists.

Endurance athletes can expect to race and have fun, but precious few will do it under the guise of sponsorship.


  1. Great book on why current sponsorship/advertising models no longer work - Seth Godin's The Purple Cow, really a great read.


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