The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) has today confirmed a partnership with investment vehicle Crankstart Investments. According to PTO, this establishes a ‘platform for professional triathletes to begin to realise their goal of athlete self-determination.’
As a result of this partnership, PTO is also announcing that The Collins Cup will be held from 29-30 May 2020 at the x-bionic sphere sports resort, in Samorin, Slovakia. This is the home of Challenge Family’s The Championship event, which will be held the next day on 31 May. There will be ‘over US$2,000,000 in prize money for The Collins Cup event.
Rachel Joyce, Co-President of PTO, commented “This day has been long in coming and we are grateful to the great professional triathletes who have, through all their blood and sweat over many years, paved the way for this opportunity to materialise. The Collins Cup will be a true celebration of both the history and the future of the sport we love so much, and we look forward to hosting the event and engaging the entire triathlon community.”
Modelled after golf’s Ryder Cup, The Collins Cup is a competition among USA, Europe and the Internationals. Each team will consist of 12 professional triathletes, six men and six women. Eight athletes, four men and four women, will earn a place on their respective teams by way of the PTO World Rankings System. The remaining four athletes, two men and two women, will be selected by the non-athlete PTO Board Members with advice from Team Captains.
Sam Renouf, CEO of PTO, said, “The format of USA vs Europe vs Internationals will add a whole new level of competition and pure excitement for triathlon. By adopting a proven format like the Ryder Cup with its nationalistic intensity, and having a points system that creates drama throughout the race, The Collins Cup is designed to be a compelling live TV event that appeals not only to the fans of endurance sports, but also to the general sports enthusiast.”
Team Captains of The Collins Cup 2020
Under its partnership, PTO and Crankstart Investments share equally in all profits generated by operations.
Michael Moritz, Chairman of Crankstart Investments, said “The spread of the internet, the rise in the number of media outlets thirsty for top-notch sporting content, combined with the latest production techniques now make it possible to bring to international audiences the extraordinary accomplishments of today’s highest performing athletes – the top forty male and female triathletes in the world.
“A major part of the attraction of the PTO is that, unlike every other sport, men and women compete for equal prize money and the athletes are co-owners of the business. This means that all participants will share, on an equal footing, in the PTO’s collective success – a recipe that is a mainstay of the Silicon Valley investment model.”
Michael Moritz is Chairman of Crankstart, which is financing PTO. Moritz’s primary commitment is as a partner at Sequoia Capital, which he joined in 1986. He was one of the co-founders of its business in China and India as well as Sequoia Global Growth, a global technology fund.
Moritz has represented Sequoia on the boards of Yahoo!, PayPal, Google, LinkedIn, Flextronics and Kayak. He currently works with a variety of younger businesses such as Instacart, Klarna and Stripe.
Charles Adamo, Chairman of PTO, added that “The PTO has been working for a number of years to create an environment and structure where professional triathletes have a meaningful voice in the way the sport is operated and can contribute to its growth for the benefit of the entire triathlon community. We are very pleased to have teamed up with Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz, who share our vision in the potential of the sport and the best means by which to see it grow and thrive.”
Tim O’Donnell, Co-President of PTO, added “We are very pleased to be able to provide professional triathletes with the platform to put on display their tremendous athletic performances and make a difference in our sport. We are grateful for the confidence that Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz have placed in us, and we appreciate that with this confidence comes great responsibility.”
He continued, “As co-owners in this partnership, the PTO and its professional members are committed to not only making it a success, but also to being a contributor to the growth of the sport and the wider triathlon community. While arranging the investment, we were working behind the scenes and over 100 professional triathletes have become members of the PTO, including all of the top 35 men and top 35 women in the PTO World Rankings. Now that we have been able to make this announcement, we can invite all licenced professionals to become PTO Members.
There are no costs or membership fees involved and any professional triathletes can find out more information by e-mailing membership[at]protriathletes.org.”