Rev3Tri, the 6-year old national triathlon series that has built a cult following among age-group racers, announced today that it will no longer offer a prize purse to professional athletes. Series owner Charlie Patten wrote a letter to pro athletes announcing a "shift in our marketing focus." The pro prize purse will be paid for the May 18th Pro and Age Group Championship race in Knoxville, and that will be the final race offering prize money.
What is different about 2014 versus any of the 5 previous seasons? The encroachment of the Ironman series and the fierce competition among pros to generate points has whittled down the pro fields of competing races and series. As of the time of this announcement, with just over a month before the Rev3 event in Quassy, CT, just 24 pros were confirmed for what was to be a $100,000 prize purse race. By way of comparison the most recent Ironman Florida, with only a $25,000 prize purse, hosted a field of roughly 80 professionals.
But the Rev3 money is not going away. The series is adding money to a purse for all comers, offering $1 underneath USA Triathlonís $5000 trigger that disallows AGers to collect the prize money. Rev3 will also pay out a $20,000 annual series distribution. With this pivot Rev3 is offering to age group racers something roughly analogous to what Ironman is offering the pros: a "glue" to entice the better age group racers and motivate them to travel.
"It's a big loss for the triathlon community. Whether the WTC likes it or not, competition is good for everybody. It keeps corporations, actually everybody, honest. It is sad it had to come to this. It is unfortunate that Rev3 Triathlon had to make that step for, I guess, survival," said Richie Cunningham, a Pro who has many Rev3 titles on his resume. "But the bottom line is you have to blame the Pros as much as organizations. Rev3 gave a lot of mid-range Pros and Pros starting out and struggling to make it, a real chance to make some money. All in all, the Pros did not support the structure Rev3 put together. They were a great organization and they helped a lot of Pros. But too many Pros did not return the favor. Plus some sponsors did not pay bonuses for Rev3 races. That made it hard for some Pros to justify entering a Rev3 race."