WTC incepts, rescinds Access program
Written by: Dan Empfield
Date: Sun Oct 31 2010
The reaction was swift and unequivocal, both on Iromman's Facebook page and on internet forum boards. The Slowtwitch.com forum lit up with multiple threads on the program, such as one entitled The latest WTC money grab, which featured about 250 posts.
WTC officials appeared surprised by the reaction to its program which its CEO, Ben Fertic (pictured) described to Slowtwitch as a way to allow serial event enterers to streamline their practice. "We have certain customers who enter every domestic Ironman," Fertic told Slowtwitch. "They don't know what their schedules are going to look like. Once a place on their schedule opens up, that's the race they participate in. But they're no-shows at all the other races, and we might've filled that spot by with another entrant."
But that's not how Ironman devotees interpreted the program. The tone of the reaction was summed up by one Slowtwitch user: "A thousand dollars for the privilege of cutting in line?"
Customers seem to have accepted the apology and the video statement, and feel it was delivered in good faith. While more than 90 percent of those commenting on Slowtwitch and Facebook about the program were critical, probably three-quarters of respondents in both these online venues were supportive of Ironman after it rescinded the program. One thread on the Slowtwitch forum devoted to the rescinding of the program featured a response typical of many of those posting: "They have regained some of my respect."
Early in 2010 WTC announced new swimskin and wetsuit rules, only to have to draw back from their rules until USA Triathlon approved rule dispensations for Ironman events. WTC's dispensations were granted, taking effect months after they were originally to have been in force in competition.
More recently, WTC has come under fire for asking for, and getting, a 60-day blackout of triathlon events in Muncie, Indiana's only usable triathlon venue, causing many to question WTC's desire to be a "good neighbor" to triathlon's local indigenous triathlon infrastructures. WTC has since signaled a willingness to work with local RDs such as those in Muncie to make sure the interests of all necessary parties are considered.
There appears to be an important voice not in the room, or not taken seriously, when these tactical decisions are made at WTC. Nevertheless, WTC does hear the blowback when an unpopular or unwise decision is made, and quickly takes steps to mitigate or replace bad ideas with a better ones. The Ironman Access program, which enjoyed a life of about 28 hours, is an example.
When word got out that the Rohto Ironman 70.3 Miami event had some serious customer satisfaction issues, WTC quickly responded with a press release announcing swift changes and extended a nice offering to those who had raced in the event. 11.03.10
Ironman's purchase of the Muncie Endurathon revealed an interesting sidebar: WTC asked for, and was granted, a 60-day blackout around its event. How prevalent is this, and is it a reasonable expectation by WTC? 10.05.10
A Las Vegas race organizer has filed suit, claiming Lake Las Vegas broke its contract agreeing to host another race in Las Vegas on the Ironman 70.3 World Championship date. The suit seeks an injunction. 10.18.10
WTC rescinding Access program is not enough
Reviewed by: Steve Handwerker, Nov 17 2010 8:14AM
Whether the lack of foresight in-house, the poor crisis PREVENTION, growing beyond its britches too quickly, Private Equity people pushing Fertic & Co....whatever the excuse is, WTC has been for many years arrogant as a company, and everyone knows this but so many people are willing to sweep it under the rug. That the company continues to make big blunders is a major red flag that needs to be dealt with by a board of directors that cares about its product. That the company continues to make big blunders is a sign that things need to change dramatically in management. It's also a sign of weakness -- someone is not minding the store and that the wrong people are place in whatever roles they should not be in.
Meanwhile, the Challenge Roth family has had one known blunder -- the first event in New Zealand. Even then, it wasn't a colossal disaster like WTC's issues.
Back to that sign of weakness: It's yet another opportunity for better business people, at Roth or elsewhere, to take more market share. And let's hope it happens. Challenge (pun intended) and competition is healthy.
WTC is not. It's overweight and making poor life decisions. That sounds like the bad boyfriend/girlfriend we all get rid of when realize it's become unhealthy and draining on ourselves.
Reviewed by: Richard, Nov 4 2010 6:56PM
If you guys think we're wrong, then we're wrong
Reviewed by: Josh Kaptur, Nov 1 2010 12:06PM
Still, I'd like to go on record and say that I want a less crowded swim and a better enforced set of rules -- and I'd be willing to pay for it.
WTC does it again!!
Reviewed by: LHM, Nov 1 2010 7:31AM
WTC and Vegas
Reviewed by: Al, Nov 1 2010 12:23AM