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Oct 28

Ironman Access Program Cancelled

Well, within 24 hours of the WTC announcing their new Ironman Access, the WTC has cancelled the program.  Immediately after announcing the program yesterday, the blogs ignited with commentary (here and here for example) and Facebook exploded with criticism and outrage for the program.  Despite the fact that the program “sold out” in its first day of availability, the WTC has decided to cancel the program and refund the money to anyone who signed up.  They even admitted that they made a mistake and apologized.  The people have spoken.

IMAccess

Feel free to watch the entire announcement by Ben Fertic, President and CEO of the WTC and apparent twin brother of Will Schuester*.  The video is available here.

The primary reason for the Ironman Access program, at least the reason stated in the video, was to open up more slots in races that were being taken by individuals who would register for multiple events and then only race in one of them.  So, if this is really a problem, how should, if at all, should the WTC address it?  My first thought was to have some sort of confirmation that you intended to race.  If you do not confirm your intention, that slot is opened back up.  The problem with my idea is that if a slot opens up, chances are it won’t be soon enough for someone else to train and be ready for the event.  They would have to be training long before they knew a slot opened up.

Another reason for the Ironman Access program that was mentioned on Ironman’s Facebook page was to allow people to pay a premium to sign up in advance as to order to prevent them from having to travel to the race site twice – once to volunteer and one race.  I, for one, immensely enjoyed my volunteering experience at IM Wisconsin this year as a precursor to signing up for 2011.  That said, I can see how that may be a pain (both logistically and financially) for someone racing their 2nd, 3rd, or more IM race.  If races keep filling up, start new races.  But please, please, please don’t buy up existing independent races.

Now, if we can just get enough people to revolt against the annual raising of entry fees maybe we can see some more action from the WTC. I know, I’m dreaming.

*Yes, I watch Glee with my wife.  Please don’t think any less of me.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2010/10/28/ironman-access-program-cancelled

9 comments

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  1. Jon

    Was reading somewhere that suggested that they track folks who sign up for multiple Ironman races and who don’t show. If you bail on too many, you are OUT from signing up for future WTC races. Maybe that will force people to actually show up?

    I think if they create more venues, those are going to fill up quickly as well, especially if it is a good venue and a good time during the year. It is unknown where the oversaturation point is for this sport.

    WTC has a good thing going right now with the explosion of triathlon over the past 10 years. If I were a shareholder of theirs, I would be clapping my hands for the program they created (and then killed).

  2. Jeff

    I am just embarrassed that I knew who Will Schuester was without even clicking on the link )-:

  3. BDD

    I am happy to see that, we, the little people spoke, and someone actually listened. This was poorly put together, poorly thought out and a quick way for them to make $500k. We will see another Ironman Access revised program real soon.

  4. Joel

    So, Kevin, the real solution (from a consumer’s perspective) isn’t having a jump to the front of the line fast pass, it’s allowing bib # transfers, deferrals to the following year, refunds, etc. The addition of those types of things obviates the problems of having folks sign up without the intention of actually racing.

    This was a huge PR fail for WTC. I agree w/ @BDD that we’ll see the program again – but I don’t think the outcome will be any different. I personally think WTC has stepped too far away from the meat of its customer base and is focusing on one segment that is probably too small to create long-lasting sustainability.

  5. Matt Oravec

    OK, I didn’t glance over the last sentence. We all have our faults haha (joking).

    Alright, I liked Jon’s comment a lot. I think they should have like a re-commitment date. If they bail on 3 or more a year they are out of IM for the next year and then are re-instated. Simple.

  6. lindsay

    i thought that was a lame excuse – “freeing up unused spots”. can’t they implement a “wait-list” type thing instead? yes you still have the train/don’t train problem, but maybe have a first-cut X months out where training should typically begin. having to sign up a year in advance, you’d probably have some people who might already know they won’t be able to race it when the i-need-to-start-training day rolls around. they could get most of their entry fee reimbursed (incentive to admit they are not-racing) and some people would be promoted from the wait list. other than that, people could be on the list hoping to be promoted at a second cut X months out and (hopefully) be training anyway. that could get confusing, but basically they could’ve handled it differently than charging $1000 for a magazine subscription and a plastic club membership card… joel had good ideas too.

    i don’t even do tri’s and this irritated me!

  7. Lisa

    wow, that caused a lot of uproar in a 24hr period, huh?

  8. onelittletrigirl

    Poorly thought out excuse to rape people of ever more money. Honestly, I think IM is IM regardless of Ford or not. This is why we are seeing so many non-WTC races come out…and thank god for it too!

  9. Kristin

    My favorite part of this was the Glee disclaimer! Loved that :)

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