Would this be a crazy idea for WTC to consider?
Why not have WTC extend 1 year contracts to the top 25 male & female finishing pro's who in Kona. The contract would run from October 2014-2015 for example.
The contract would offer each pro a $50,000 salary paid in 24 payments over the course of the year (pay check twice a month). Total cost to WTC if they offered that to 50 pro's would be $2.5 Million.
The contract signing would be optional for the pro, because I am sure WTC would only want these athletes racing WTC events. The athlete would still be able to seek out their own sponsorship to help add to their personal income and they would still be eligible to win prize money at WTC races.
The $50,000 dollars would provide these pro's with a stable salary for one year that most should be able to live on and it would be enough to get them to their races. I actually think a lot of these athletes would be making more money than the $50,000, but it might give some of the lower end pro's a little more stability to either help them develop more or make it another year as a pro.
WTC would be able to do several things to strengthen their brand.
1. Lock up the best 25 male and 25 female athletes to only race their events for one year.
2. In the contract the athlete signs, they could require these athletes promote the IM Brand through different options such as charity work, post race events with pros, etc.
3. Better control public communication on social media (facebook, twitter, etc)
4. Use this stable to athletes to have better racing the pro events that pay. For example in his e-mail he mentions 6 races counting for KPR points, imagine only having to do 6 races a year at most with it being a mix of 5150's, 70.3's & 140.6. Longer term (several years from now) I could see there being 4-6 races that are at least similar to 70.3 World Championship followings in terms of competition or even better competition such as what takes place at Kona. This would create a better marketing opportunity for WTC, the possibility of having some 70.3's televised.
5. Under this situation, these athletes could represent the pro's to be "one voice" that WTC interacts with to get feedback, etc.
6. WTC could set a code of conduct for what it expects from "their paid pro's". I read a lot of commentary on here about pro's not acting like professionals, etc. WTC could establish and set standards. This would over time strengthen WTC's brand.
7. Improve competition even more, pro's on the outside of the 25 could become very motivated to make it to Kona and to get their shot at having a $50,000 salary and potentially quit their job for one year and see how they could really do living as a full time pro.
This would require an upfront investment by WTC, but I think in the long term. If they could develop a professional racing event that draws more attention/excitement due better competition there should be value added to the brand. I guess the real question is how long is the payback period and what kind of return on investment will WTC get?
Just curious what you or some others might think of this idea Dev?
I know there would also be some downside, which I am sure I am about to hear about.
1 possible upside for the pro's is that they might be able to use this as an opportunity to create a professional triathlete's association much like the NFL's player association. To an extent they could unionize to negotiate better terms for the pro's.
Anyway just an idea.
Re-read each of your 7 bullets and after each ask yourself, "How does this benefit WTC?"
Last I checked WTC doesn't have a problem with its brand. After all, they are so entrenched in the culture they can sell us "Home Decor".
The sooner people come to terms with the fact that triathlon is not about the pros, it's about the age groupers, the sooner these people will live happier lives.
I'd encourage anyone who disagrees with this last statement to come to the MOP/BOP where we live and talk to us or race in our world. At the swim start, we are not talking about the pros, we are encouraging each other that we can handle to choppy water. On the bike, we are not wondering how many watts Macca pushed, we're trying to not ride our bike off the road. On the run, we're not thinking about Rinny's IM marathon split, we're doing the math to decide how fast we have to walk to finish in 17 hours.
The fact is WTC is a gigantic entity that serves a massive triathlete population, of which pros and elite AGers is the smallest part. The rest of us are just a squirrel trying to get our own nut and what the pros do does not matter and will never matter to us. We don't care what races pros attend. We race the one that fits our location and work schedule. We don't care how competitive the field is because we start 10 minutes behind the "race" and will finish hours after.
Again, before you respond, schedule a race and come to the BOP. Ask us a few questions. It won't take long before you understand why WTC operates the way it does.