PTO celebrates record year, prepares for bigger 2024

The PTO celebrates a record year as it prepares for lift-off by doubling Tour event stages in 2024 to at least six races.

London, UK: The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) has advised that its full 2024 PTO Tour calendar will be revealed in the new year, having already announced that it will return to Singapore (12-14 April) and Ibiza (28-29 September) respectively.

PTO CEO Sam Renouf reiterated his belief that creating a season-long schedule and narrative, with consistent racing from the highest-ranked athletes throughout the year, is essential to take the sport to the next level and grow into the mainstream. He also pointed to a combination of reasons the 2024 calendar would be unveiled early in the new year, including final governmental approvals from prospective host cities.

“We have been working hard to double our calendar from three events to at least six races in 2024, as we strongly believe that is the way to create a cohesive, season-long narrative about the PTO Tour that will ultimately take the sport to a broader global audience and build a fanbase that drives more money into the sport.”

“We are in the final stages of planning with new host locations, however, as several are requiring further government approvals before being publicly announced, we felt it was important to let people know that we won’t be announcing our full calendar of Professional and Age Group races until early in the new year. This is a more complex process for the PTO versus most stakeholders in the sport as we mandate to all our host partners that we must have entirely separate racing for Professionals and Age Groupers, which we believe is essential both for athlete safety and to create a compelling broadcast product to grow the sport.”

“While it’s admittedly taken us a little longer to announce the stages than we expected, we are hugely excited about how things are shaping up and believe it will be worth the wait. Each of the stops of the 2024 Tour will be at iconic locations that provide a backdrop worthy of the highest level of the sport.”

In just its second season, the 2023 PTO Tour is delivering on its goal of bringing long-distance triathlon to a broader audience, including a global dedicated TV and streaming audience of 24.6 million for its three races in Ibiza, Milwaukee and Singapore through multiple top-tier broadcast partnerships that saw it broadcast in 195+ territories around the world.

Its social channels also continue to make impressive headway, with the PTO owning the largest ‘share of voice’ on Facebook versus Ironman, World Triathlon and Super League Triathlon and are now second only to Ironman on Instagram. As the PTO’s social follower audience has grown – to above 300,000 at the last count – so has its engagement, which bucks the usual trend amongst social channels as they scale.

Which all contributed to the successful signing of Canyon, Garmin, Ekoï, Pokka and Rouvy as commercial partners on the 2023 PTO Tour as well as FORM renewing their deal.

PTO Asian Open in Singapore during August 2023

There is also growing belief amongst the leading athletes who co-own the organisation. On a recent CNBC episode of The Score, which examines sport through the lens of business, and was aired extensively across the channel in Europe and Asia over the weekend of 2-3 December, the PTO World #2 Ashleigh Gentle said:

“The PTO Tour is unique in that we go to these wonderful destinations and we have these really great courses, multi laps, spectator friendly and it’s also broadcast around the world. So for us athletes, it’s awesome to be part of such a professional organisation who are trying to broadcast our sport to the world.”

“My sponsors love it because when they see us on screen, they see their logos, their bikes and shoes. It’s game changing and hasn’t happened before and creates massive opportunity for us athletes.”

PTO Asian Open in Singapore during August 2023

When asked by CNBC presenter Sam Vadas what made the PTO Tour different, World #1 Kristian Blummenfelt responded:

“They bring the best athletes together every time, not just once. And what they are doing with the sport marketing-wise, they are creating more hype around the events with the atmosphere…and bringing the sport to another professional level.”

“It makes it more possible to be a professional…by getting more money into the sport. It’s not easy to travel around the world without having the sponsors and for the sponsors to be able to pay you they need to be able to get marketing value, so to have races like this where you can really be showcased is important for the whole sport to grow.”

Also speaking on the CNBC programme, Roy Teo, Chief of Industry Development, Technology and Innovation at Sport Singapore, the government agency that brought the PTO to the Lion City in August this year, said:

“We wanted to create a more vibrant calendar of sports events in the country…and the PTO Tour fits into that. They allow a lot of different experienced amateurs to participate in the events, they also bring in the top pro athletes that really inspires people to come and watch – and the format is really exciting. Swimming in Marina Bay is really, really unique.”

PTO Executive Chairman Chris Kermode sums up the PTO mindset going into 2024:

“I remain extremely positive about our direction of travel and the job the team has done to get things to where they are. We knew at the start of the year that we needed a plan to go bigger in 2024, which is what we’ll announce in the new year. But it takes time and, frankly, there’s usually a good reason why someone’s not done something before – because it isn’t easy.”

“Is it ideal that we still can’t publicly share our full calendar yet for next year? ‘No’. Will we be announcing an exciting line-up of races for 2024 early in the new year? ‘Yes’.  2024 is set to be an incredible year for Professional Triathlon and we’re excited to be working with our athletes and partners to make that happen.”

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