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Ironman acquisition of YWC Copenhagen deals blow to Challenge in Europe


Ironman brand owner World Triathlon Corp (WTC) has confirmed its acquisition of YWC Sports ApS in Copenhagen. The privately held company organizes several triathlons and endurance sport events throughout Denmark including the popular KMD Challenge Copenhagen and KMD Challenge Aarhus.

WTC notes that YWC’s events are a strong addition to the global Ironman calendar. Details on the event schedule will be released over the next two weeks.

Andrew Messick, CEO at WTC said “Ironman is committed to growth in Europe as there is great passion for the sport of triathlon here. YWC has a strong line-up of triathlons and we are excited to help advance the sport in Denmark.”

  • 1400 athletes signed up for the third edition of KMD Challenge Aarhus and were greeted by sun at the swim start in Hørhaven last weekend on Sunday 23 June.
  • KMD Challenge Copenhagen 2013 takes place on 18 August 2013. (Last year’s third edition of Challenge Copenhagen attracted 2,000 athletes and 150,000 spectators.) At this time it is unclear if this event will switch to the Ironman brand in just a matter of weeks. Going forwards, it looks like this popular event in Copenhagen will be the last under the Challenge Family brand.

Jeppe Rindom, Chairman of the Board at YWC Sports said “The two triathlon events in Copenhagen and Aarhus are both one of a kind with huge international potential. Our ambition has always been to create events of international and world-class scale. We believe putting the Ironman brand to the two events will make them fulfil just that.”

Pia Allerslev, Mayor of Culture and Leisure City of Copenhagen noted that “Copenhagen is an excellent and progressive scene for major events and Ironman helps brand us as an active city with an international perspective. We are looking forward to hosting and supporting all the international participants and sports fans.”

Blow to Challenge in Europe
This latest deal is a blow to Ironman rival Challenge Family. It comes just over a year after WTC’s acquisition of USM Events in Australia in February 2012. USM Events is one of Australia’s leading event management companies and the owner of iconic premier multisport festivals at Noosa, Cairns, Mooloolaba and Geelong. Following last February’s deal, WTC added Ironman Cairns to its 2012 line-up.

In response, Challenge Family terminated its agreement with USM Events to deliver Challenge Cairns following what it called a ‘breach of contract’ by the Australian event organiser. Although, in 2013 Challenge Family returned to the Australian triathlon market with three new Challenge Half events being added to the event organiser’s worldwide series.

It’s likely therefore that Challenge Family won’t take this latest coup by Ironman lying down!

The team at Challenge Family has also sent through the following statement…

‘The case around Challenge Aarhus and Challenge Copenhagen is currently with our legal team so we are unable to give further comment. However, while it is sad for us to lose two races, when looking at the big picture we have so much exciting news this year, amazing new races joining Challenge Family and it remains a very positive time of growth for Challenge Family throughout the world.

Challange Family will keep the successful path to the delivery of an excellent experience for our athletes, communities, media, partners and industry and hold the highest possible respect for the legacy of the sport of triathlon.’
Challenge Family logo


Ironman extends in Europe
Commenting on Ironman’s acquisition of YWC, Karen Nielsen, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at, title sponsor company, KMD added “It has been an absolute pleasure to support YWC Sports as title sponsor for the triathlon events since 2011. We have experienced a very positive development on both the professional and amateur triathlon scene in Denmark, and triathlon has been booming in Denmark since the first Challenge Copenhagen in 2010. We look forward to see what the future brings working with Ironman.”

Ironman logo

Lars Bernhard Jørgensen, CEO, Wonderful Copenhagen said “Since day one, KMD Challenge Copenhagen, placed itself as a strong, well-produced and unique sporting event, in the middle of Copenhagen. Today’s news marks a significant accomplishment for the entire organization behind the event, the sponsors and the city of Copenhagen.”

Lars Lundov, CEO at Sport Event Denmark said “We have been very pleased with the presence of the KMD Challenge events in Copenhagen and Aarhus since 2010. YWC Sports has worked hard to build successful triathlons in Denmark and we see this new collaboration with Ironman as a great way to further develop major sport events here in Copenhagen while attracting more international participants and bringing attention to our city.”




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