The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has extended its World Triathlon Series (WTS) contract with Lagardère Unlimited until 2020.
“Continuing our partnership with Lagardère Unlimited is a very positive move for triathlon, as it further solidifies the World Triathlon Series as a major sporting event on the global index,” said ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado.
“We have seen incredible growth in terms of both participation and interest in triathlon since we first began our partnership with Lagardère six years ago. The continuation of our partnership will only further fuel the evolution of both triathlon and the World Triathlon Series.”
ITU first began its partnership with Lagardère in 2009 with the creation of the World Triathlon Series, which offers Olympic Qualifying Points and sees elite triathletes vie for World Championship titles across a succession of races in iconic locations.
While the series first began with eight races across the world, it has now grown to include 10 events on every continent, with the WTS having touched down in Africa for the first time last year and in the Middle East this season.
The extension of the contract ensures the existence of the WTS beyond 2016, when the current contract is slated to expire. As ITU’s, and the series’, commercial partner Lagardère is also set to organize a minimum of five of the World Triathlon Series events moving forward.
“The ITU World Triathlon Series plays a central role for our global endurance and mass events business,” said Christian Toetzke, Global CEO of Lagardère Unlimited’s Endurance and Mass Participation business.
“It was a logical step to extend our strong relationship with ITU beyond 2016. At the same time we could use the opportunity to adjust the sponsorship structure of the ITU World Triathlon Series, being more flexible to accommodate the growing interest from cities and other stakeholders around the globe.”
He continued, “We look forward to further developing triathlon and the ITU World Triathlon Series into one of the leading elite and multisport products, as it is a premium platform for people who want to live a healthy and active lifestyle.”
In association with the deal, ITU has signed a new agreement with Lagardere-owned IEC in Sports. The Sweden-based media house will continue to be responsible for selling and the host production of the WTS live broadcasts, as well as producing the official series magazine show. To date, the series has been broadcast in more than 140 countries on an annual basis.
“Distributing and producing consistent host broadcast quality for all WTS races to TV broadcasters, as well as the Triathlonlive digital platform, keeps the sport at the forefront for athletes and fans globally. We are very happy and proud to be given the renewed trust from another Olympic International Federation like ITU,” said Daniel Franck, CEO, IEC in Sports.
The contract will also see all sponsorship rights given to each local organizing event to ensure each race is provided with the maximum opportunity to attract partnerships. Additionally, the agreements will guarantee more than US$2 million of prize money to athletes per season.