This really adds alcohol to the wound. I'm not an Ironman athlete, but I love following endurance sports for the sole purpose of spectating the pros, just like the rest of America enjoys spectating football's and basketball's highly paid pros.
I feel Ironman is taking the path that marathon races took in the mid to late 80's and 90's - they started catering solely to the amateurs because that's where the money is. But, during that time, the average times for the entire field began to slow down dramatically - look at the Boston qualifying times in the 70s vs. the 90's. Boston, New York and Chicago started to lose the respect they had amassed in the 70's and early 80's with heros such as Shorter, Rodgers and Salazar. Look at these races today; they are paying top dollar in APPEARANCE fees in addition to cash prizes. (see article: IM is now charging pros, and providing no appearance fees)
People blame the economy on the Ironman cutting corners financially, but, as stated, look at Marathon.
Ironman races sell out in one day, the entry fees are outrageous, they whore out their logo whenever they can, why can't they pay top dollar to the pros? $100k for winning Hawaii is a joke. I should be $1million for 1st in Hawaii and the top 20 should get paid, with 20th getting at least $20k. All other IM events should pay $100k for the winner.
Some will say why do this when they can make so much money off of the amateurs. Why? Because it is amazing marketing. By doing this, you create heros within the sport of Ironman racing and with heros, you gain a larger audience and with that you can get more TV/internet coverage and ad revenue and bigger event sponsors. If you give to the pros who give their lives to competing in your events, you will get back 10 x what you put in public interests and attention. In the US, wealth = hero, especially if that wealth was gained in a non traditional way, such as through athletics.
To the average American, who is Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt?
They are athletes who compete in sports second tier in the minds of mainstream America who make as much as football and basketball players and for that reason alone, fascination with the sports of the rich and famous, America watches and obsesses over these athletes.
Leak to the public that the winner of Hawaii reaped $1million and they will become interested.
Last Question: Why is Hyvee paying out more than IM Hawaii for the top pro?
Answer: Ironman corp. is greedy, and unlike what Gecko may have said, Greed is not always good. Maybe Ironman corp. should look to Buffett, not Gecko, for business inspiration.
milesthedog on strava