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The Collins Cup: A Gem That Needs Polishing

The Collins Cup is a revolutionary concept in the world of Triathlon. It pits the best athletes in the world against each other in a head-to-head-to-head match-race format to find out which region is the best. The PTO have been shouting off the rooftops since 2019 that the Collins Cup would change Triathlon. Did it do that this weekend? I’m not so sure, but it definitely has the potential to do so! As a triathlon fan and sports business enthusiast I thoroughly appreciated the show put on by the PTO in Samorin this weekend, whilst they did so many things right, I still felt it has so much untapped potential that it would be a shame not to strive for more! Below are a few thoughts and ideas that could make the second edition a bit more revolutionary

The PTO’s biggest selling point on the Collins Cup was that it would revolutionise the television broadcast for long distance triathlon. Whilst it showed huge potential with a strong commentary team, great camera work, good story lines and montages, the Collins Cup left a lot of untapped potential out in the field.

Even the most avid triathlon fan won’t sit down for 7 hours on a Saturday to watch TV, the reality is they are more likely to be tuning in on several occasions before finally sitting down to watch the conclusion. To ensure a great fan experience the broadcast should unequivocally cater for this! How? Here are a few ideas:

  • Save the best for last – ensure you have a climax to the action towards the end to guarantee people are gradually tuning in rather than tuning out. This wasn’t the case on Saturday

  • Cater for everyone. It’s vital to ensure that anyone tuning in can understand the current state of the race within seconds. Other than the time gaps between athletes, the broadcast failed to show where the athletes were in the race in terms of kilometres. It’s great to know that someone is closing in on a leader, but unless you have the context and how long they have to close the gap it doesn’t mean anything. Show us the athletes progress so we know how much they’ve done and what they have left

  • Show us a comparison between the races – at the end of the race on Saturday we didn’t know who had the fastest splits or finish times. Triathletes love data, so throw it in our faces!

  • Use all the content you can! The athletes and Captains had two-way communication on the Bike in Samorin and yet we didn’t get it on the broadcast. The audio content is there, use it! Triathlon fans would love to know what is being said, how the athletes are feeling and how their race plans are evolving. The Tri Battle also showed the way previously in terms of sharing live data, all the athletes have it so why not broadcast it? It helps provide more context.

  • Mix up the race formats – To keep things interesting and varied, using multiple race formats could be a good solution. With Kona and 70.3 Worlds the likely A races for all athletes racing The Collins Cup, not everyone is likely to be in top form, but this shouldn’t be a reason to compromise the quality of the event and broadcast. Mix up the formats with some shorter and longer races, some relays, an eliminator etc.

  • Equal points for all races – The Ryder Cup offers equal points for all matches regardless of if you dominate or scrape the win. This could make for closer racing as athletes will only look to beat rather than crush their opponents, leading to more tactical and tighter racing.

To conclude, The Collins Cup is great, and I think most Triathlon fans would have enjoyed the show this weekend, unfortunately however I felt the PTO underdelivered compared to what had been promised. The number one rule of customer satisfaction is under promise and over deliver, to do this I really hope the PTO pull a few of the aces out of their sleeve for next year! Above are just a few ideas and thoughts I’ve had since Saturday, I’m sure you have some yourself, tell me in the comments if you agree, disagree or have more ideas.

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