EnduranceBiz: How do you aim to expand the fan/viewer reach of Super League Triathlon beyond the natural fan base of the core triathlon community?
Chris McCormack (CM): There are two aspects to this. One, is to focus on the character of the athletes and also in their engagement with local communities. Two, is the use of excellent venues. In the future we have downtown city venues arranged. That will add a strong demonstrable tourist value.
For example, there are lots of people who watch the Tour de France. Many do so not just because they like cycling. They like the French landscape. This helps to capture the imagination.
It’s also about the characters. Triathlon is a sport where characters are almost punished for being characters. Being outspoken is not necessarily seen as a good thing. But in other sports it’s a key component of fan engagement.
At its heart, Super League is about the athletes, and enabling the fans to identify with the person. They need heroes and villains. Super League can help to channel this engagement.
We are putting the cornerstones in place to build great relationships with TV. We fit with what the TV networks are looking for. Many networks are taking triathlon in a proscribed form. With Hamilton Island and Jersey, the networks can see that Super League is a different proposition.
In broadcast, we will see a growing trend. It’s about showcasing triathlon, outreaching to a wider audience. We’ve raised the bar in terms of quality.
Coupled with this, data is important. We will integrate athlete data and stats more and more as we build momentum. It’s important to get the audience understanding what the athletes are going through out on the course and well as taking in the spectacle.
EnduranceBiz: There was a fair amount of criticism about a lack of female racing at Hamilton Island. Can you clarify why the pro females were excluded for the inaugural event? Did the criticism take you by surprise?
CM: We anticipated an outcry. It did take us back a bit. But it was a one-off. Super League will continue for years to come – with female athletes. Leading up to Hamilton Island, no one really took us seriously until they saw the impact of the final product. No one jumped up and down at the outset. The outcry really happened after people saw the hi-impact, hi-quality of the racing and the media package.
We spent the money and delivered. Women are racing now. We’re keeping our head down and getting on with the job… there were logistic issues in our inaugural event that limited the size of the field. The racing in Jersey has male and female athletes racing.
It’s all about inclusion. Both male and female athletes are fully on board going forwards.
EnduranceBiz: When do you envisage that you’ll be able to announce your next location(s)?
CM: Our next location, which we were going to announce in Jersey, just got levelled by a hurricane. It’s not off the table. We’re looking at a date change. There will be another announcement in around five to six weeks. We’re just figuring out the logistics on the two new events in the pipeline.
The host cities like the fact that each roll-out has a focus on them. We want people to understand the format and what Super League represents. We’ll focus on this, event by event. We give kudos to the cities that actually hold those formats. People will talk about the series, the format and in turn each event.
Different cities will have different formats. We want to take our viewers and fans on this journey and are really excited to do so!
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