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Could a streaming platform buy the PTO?

Warner Bros and pro triathlon, flaxseeds, and is aero better than power?

Good morning everyone,

Yesterday I put away the goggles, bicycle, and run shoes for the day and picked up a set of golf clubs. I had a ton of fun switching up sports but I can imagine my balls that found themselves in the bottom of the pond enjoyed it a bit less🤣 

It reminded me how sport can be exhilarating, frustrating (see above), and incredibly rewarding. And as long as we can be OK with all that it brings, it can be one hell of a journey.

In today’s edition:

  • 🔮 Could a major streaming platform buy the PTO?

  • 🌱 Why you shouldn’t sleep on flax seeds.

  • 🌬️ Is aerodynamics or power more important for cycling?

Thanks for being here,

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

Headshot of Matt Sharpe

Have a triathlete in your life who can't stop swimming, biking, or running? Fire this off to them. Forwarded from a friend? Sign-up for free. 

TEMPO TAKE

Will a Major Streaming Platform Buy the Professional Triathletes Organization?

PTO

While everyone is wrapping up 2023 - we’re looking ahead to 2024, and beyond. First up, why we think a major streaming service will purchase the Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) 

The PTO was started in 2014 with the “mission of elevating professional triathlon on a global stage.” And no one can argue that it hasn’t been working hard to achieve this:

  • They’ve introduced the richest prize purses and bonuses in triathlon.

  • Its flagship PTO tour has enjoyed a global footprint with stops in Singapore, Spain, Slovakia, the U.S., and Canada.

  • They’ve pushed Ironman to invest more in professional triathlon.

  • And initiatives like their groundbreaking maternity leave policy are making waves.

Momentum lost

For a moment, the PTO had the wind at its back. But with unforced errors including the now-defunct Collins Cup format and the extremely delayed 2024 race announcements ,it feels like the 2024 PTO season is slipping away…

  • But the PTO’s brightest days may be ahead of them, if a certain media giant pulls the trigger on a major acquisition of the organization.

A deepening relationship

In July 2022, Warner Bros - Discovery announced a broadcast partnership with the PTO that saw their events featured on its subsidiaries Eurosport and GCN+.

  • The relationship deepened with the December 2022 announcement that Warner Bros would be investing and undisclosed amount of money in the PTO.

And now, a year on from the initial investment it’s time for Warner Bros to go all-in on the PTO.

But why?

It’s all due to emerging media trends, and the scarcity of appointment viewing.

Appointment viewing is what we used to do. It was Friends at 8:30 PM on Thursday, Saturday morning cartoons at 7 AM, and for your author, Gossip Girl at 8 PM on a Monday (don’t judge).

  • But with the unending development of new streaming services and the infinite content machine created by apps like TikTok, appointment viewing has been virtually eliminated.

  • The one exception? Live sports.

The last appointment

Live sports are the last bastion of appointment viewing, which is why they command such a premium in the marketplace. Of the top 100 telecasts in the U.S. in 2022, live sports accounted for all but six. And the streaming giants are willing to shell out for sports:

  • Sky Sports just paid $8.54 billion - a massive record - to broadcast the English Premier League.

  • In 2022, Amazon paid $11 billion to carry “Thursday Night Football” for the next 11 seasons.

  • And Apple recently inked a $595 million deal with Major League Baseball for its “Friday Night Baseball” streaming coverage.

Netflix, which saw incredible returns from its F1-focused “Drive to Survive” series has doubled down on sports as it produced similar series following Pro Golf with “Full Swing” and Tennis superstars via “Breakpoint”

  • And now the streaming giant is making its foray into live sports with the Netflix Cup Golf tournament, and, in March 2024, “The Netflix Slam” a one-off match featuring Tennis icon Rafael Nadal and heir-apparent, Carlos Alcaraz.

A perfect fit

If Warner Bros were to buy the PTO it could provide instant global distribution on its HBO MAX and Eurosport platforms.

  • The PTO tour races would provide compelling and drama-filled appointment viewing.

  • And, the PTO addition would align well with its current content lineup of some of the biggest global professional cycling races including the Giro d’Italia, the Spring Classics, and 53 Women’s World Tour races.

Moving forward, the PTO would have a well-capitalized partner that would allow it to develop a sustainable and consistent race series.

What’s old is new

But how could Warner Bros flip the script on the typical paywalled streaming playbook?

Provide the PTO races on its platform - for free.

  • Well, it’s not really for free, because the audience would pay the old-fashioned way, with their time.

  • A PTO race usually takes around 3 to 3.5 hours. During that time there is plenty of opportunities to jump to a commercial break.

A USA Triathlon survey found that the average income for triathletes was $126,000/year. In reality, Warner Bros shouldn’t have a problem finding commercial partners who want exposure to this incredibly high-value audience.

Time will tell

With appointment viewing becoming increasingly scarce (and valuable), we wouldn’t be surprised to see Warner Bros make a full acquisition of the PTO to add to its growing suite of live sports.

  • The Sopranos, Shark Week, and triathlon. Sounds pretty good!

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FAVOURITES

🌬️ Aero Vs power: Aerodynamics Vs Power: what is more important? There are plenty of variables including the rider and race distance. but as this video shows a few easy changes can equal huge gains! [GTN]

🌱 Trending seed: Flaxseeds are having a moment…as part of a skincare routine? OK that might not work so good. But these seeds have incredible health benefits for athletes from boosting heart health, to lowering inflammation. [New York Times]

☝️ Older women take note: Zone 2 training is touted by experts as a key component of a training plan, and overall health. But is it good for everyone? According to exercise physiologist Stacy Sims, zone 2 might not be the best for older women. Here’s what she recommends. [Mind Body Green]

📼 Renting performance: These triathletes are renting bikes for the most important races of their lives, and loving it! [Triathlete]

🎉 Go Grandma: This Scottish Grandmother started doing triathlons in her late 50’s, and now she’s winning World Championship medals. But she says just finishing is a great achievement. [BBC]

REEL TIME

An incredibly inspiring video of brotherly love. Well done Pedro and Miguel 🥹

QUICK NEWS

New additions: The BMC Pro tri team unveiled its 2024 squad that features new additions like Lucy Byram (GBR) and Clément Mignon (FRA). [Trizone]

Incredible athlete: Childhood leukemia and an inability to swim were difficult obstacles for Irish triathlete Donnacha McCarthy. But now he’s on the path to the Paralympics. [Independent]

Registration open: Ironman just launched its winter 2024 70.3 race schedule with classics like Indian Wells and North Carolina. [Endurance Sports Wire]

Roth date: The date has been confirmed for the 2025 edition of Challenge Roth. Just don’t miss the registration opening as it usually sells out in seconds. [Endurance biz]

WHAT YOU SAID

Here’s what you said about your favourite races of the year.

Reader: Roth! Hands down!

Reader: The Men’s WTCS Grand Final ft. four men on the track in the final stretch on the track was thrilling!

Reader: Literally [Lucy Charles-Barclay] is on her way to becoming the GOAT!

Reader: Daniella at Roth!

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