The virtual racing debacle did not have to happen. If Ironman and their third party partner would have just listened to Strava and acted none of this would have happened. Ironman decided to dig in their heels and are placing blame on Strava which indicates Ironman thinks they are bigger than Strava.
In todays world, data is king. Data is highly valuable. Strava has loads of data. Their universe of athletes dwarfs Ironman and the data those athletes produce far out ways any data Ironman has on it’s athletes. If Ironman really knew who their athletes are, they’d be able to continue to grow. Even before the epidemic Ironman participation was on the decline. That’s a clear indication they don’t understand their data.
But the issue here is ego. Someone at Ironman has the ego that says our s&%t doesn’t stink. This person actually thinks Ironman is more important than Strava. Let’s just call the two brands equal and there is no room for that ego today. An ego like that is going to drive people away from Ironman. Felix at Challenge doesn’t have that ego he’d be happy to benefit from Ironman sending athletes away.
This is not the first time we’ve seen ego and Ironman together. It’s in fact more prevalent than we’d prefer. It just seems like this time it might actually hurt the brand. There more than likely won’t be any Ironman races the rest of this year. If there are that’s good but all you have to do is look at the running world. The Berlin Marathon scheduled for late September has already been canceled. If you think a 2,000 person Ironman event is going to take place before October or even January 2021 it’s wishful at best. Ironman then can’t afford to roll into 2021 with a smaller active database. It’s the kind of attitude coming out of Ironman right now that will actually drive that active database down.