Top 10 Moments of Triathlon Business International Conference

TBI ACTIVE 2014 Conference LogoEarlier this week we headed to beautiful Marina Del Rey for the Triathlon Business International (TBI) Conference.  In case you couldn’t make it, we wanted to give you a quick recap of our favorite moments and things we learned at the conference. In no particular order, here are our top 10:

1. Doping on Monday Morning
Both the keynote address from Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and the subsequent panel session focused on drug policies and endurance sports.  This was a lightning rod topic that raised questions about  the price of our ‘win at all costs’ mentality in sports, how we can afford to fight this battle when drug testing can run anywhere from $600 to $2000+, and an overall commitment to find strategies that can help enforce a clean sport from top to bottom.
Follow up blog post on this topic coming soon!

2. Triathlon vs. Running and Non-Traditional Events
There was quite a bit of talk at the conference about the best ways to grow the tri industry. With two different  panels featuring Lee Goss from Spartan Race, Travis Snyder from The Color Run, Tracey Russell from LA Marathon, and more, we heard ideas like using engaged athletes to recruit the unengaged, “tricking” people into exercising, and making it more than just one event, but rather an amazing journey.

3. New Technology Tips
The technology panel had some great ideas that perked up the ears of the whole room. Things like giving away event photos for free to increase social sharing, using video to reduce the fear and show the fun, and offering participants rewards for engagement.
More ideas like this in an upcoming blog post!

Photo Credit: Luke McKenzie

Photo Credit: Luke McKenzie

4. TBI Award’s Banquet
There were many special moments and deserving people and events who were honored at the banquet, but our favorite moment was seeing the Ron Smith Award presented to the amazing age-grouper Karen Aydelott and pro Luke McKenzie, both of whom gave very humble and eloquent speeches.

5.  The (Dis)Appearance of Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong made a last-minute request to attend the TBI Conference to present his side of the doping case (see #1). Tweets went aflying, but Lance subsequently cancelled his appearance a few short hours later.

6. Marketing Mind Games
Some top notch marketers such as Leslie Prevish of Prevish Marketing, Matt Wikstrom of Wasserman Media Group, and Hugh Williams of Weber Shandwick shared their expertise and ideas in a great panel. Some marketing successes they shared included naming the pink gorilla (the official mascot of the Bay to Breakers) and the Hines Ward BECOME ONE campaign (the NFL’ers quest for Kona with the help of chocolate milk).

Photo Credit: Triathlon Magazine

Photo Credit: Triathlon Magazine

7. Rooftop Helipad Triathlon
At Monday’s cocktail reception, Athletepath presented the first-ever pro triathlon challenge on a rooftop helipad, complete with a slip n’ slide and some very creative transitions!

8. Charity & Wellness Wisdom
Our very own Arch Fuston, director of our ACTIVEx corporate wellness program, sat on a panel with Virginia Tinley from Challenged Athletes Foundation, Brian Pendleton from Cause Force, and Sarah Hartmann of Race2Rebuild to discuss charity involvement and corporate wellness initiatives in relation to triathlons. Our top takeaway from this session: check out the Cone Communication Social Impact Study to get details on how important cause really is to consumers.

9. By the Numbers
Gary Roethenbaugh of MultiSport Research Ltd boggled our minds with some in-depth information on the demographics, habits, and preferences of triathletes worldwide: there were an estimated 3.4 million active triathletes in 2012; there’s a 70:30 male-to-female participation ratio; Latin America is a growing (and untapped) market. Too many gold nuggets to list here, but Gary’s research will go far in helping race directors market and grow their events.

10. Hot Topics
This session was one of our favorites because it was open season—ask anything you want and get answers from the crowd at large (or Mike Reilly!). Should triathlons pay prize purses? Should swim starts be based or age groups on predicted swim times? Does USA Triathlon have a responsibility to enforce safety guidelines at events? Open conversation and interesting opinions abounded.

If you attended, leave a comment below and tell us your favorite moment!