World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owners and producers of the Ironman branded events, has signed a letter of intent to purchase all or substantially all events owned by Columbia Triathlon Association. As part of the agreement, all races on the 2014 CTA (TriColumbia) schedule will go forward. All entry fees paid will be honored; all entries are valid for 2014; all races on the 2014 schedule for which entries have been paid are expected to be conducted.
The CTA is a non profit corporation and, as such, the corporation itself could not be purchased by WTC, but the assets - the races - could. Accordingly, WTC is expected to complete a purchase of these races, which include Ironman Eagleman 70.3, the Columbia Triathlon, Chesapeakeman, a number of Irongirl events and others.
WTC's move will save the mid-Atlantic region from the imminent implosion of a triathlon season and the demise of a once-powerful suite of iconic races. As these races come under the execution arm of WTC a resurgence in events that had seen registration numbers dwindle is likely, especially if WTC vests more of these races with its powerful Ironman branding.
WTC's acquisition strategy has not always been universally championed, but the acquisition of this entity's races is hard to criticize. Yes, WTC would have an obvious interest in a portfolio of races half of which are WTC-licensed. But half are not, and those that are licensed have already had all or much of their entry fees paid in and spent.
WTC's 2014 underwriting of the races this year could be in the range of $750,000. While WTC will own these races, it will have to fund them for 2014 since CTA doesn't have the money to deliver the 2014 race season. Offsetting this, WTC will become an owner of major events in a heavily tri-populated area for the price of one-time revenues, so, few business observers are likely criticize WTC's crazy - like a fox - and Quixotic wading in to save triathlon in Maryland.
What happens to the Columbia Triathlon Association? It was the vehicle for a lot of philanthropic giving. But it raised that money through the production of events. There are no more events. It does not seem to have a reason to exist. Its staff is no longer working, or drawing paychecks. Some staff will certainly migrate to the new ownership since WTC while powerful has no boots on the ground in metro Baltimore. The head production arm for TriColumbia Scottish expatriate Gerry Boyle will stay aboard to produce these events for WTC. It is unknown as of now what further staff additions there may be.