In January 2024, the Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) representative body announced the rebrand of its top-tier PTO Tour series of events.

Now known as the T100 Triathlon World Tour, the competition is comprised of an expanded eight-event season spanning three continents from March through November. The first T100 event took place in Miami, Florida, across March 9 and 10, with other races to take place in Singapore, California (US), London (UK), Ibiza (Spain), Lake Las Vegas (US), and Dubai (UAE) through the season in anticipation of its grand final (the venue of which is yet to be announced).

Each T100 event features both the standard 100km professional event, as well as age group racing, with a $250,000 prize pool in place for the professional categories and points awarded to finishers – these will be tallied up at the end of the season to find the overall T100 Triathlon World Champion.

Alongside a new name and polished presentation, the PTO also returned in 2024 with a new partner, the World Triathlon governing body. The 2024 T100 is the first edition of the series under any moniker that World Triathlon now recognizes as the official World Championship tour for long-distance triathlon, in a similar vein to the FIA’s recognition of Formula 1 as open wheel motor racing’s main world championship.

The PTO Tour only launched in 2020, aiming to emulate other touring sports’ seasonal competitions such as elite men’s tennis’ ATP Masters events. Speaking to Sportcal (GlobalData Sport), PTO chief executive Sam Renouf explains why the rebrand was necessary in order to cement the tour’s position as triathlon’s world championship, as well as how the World Triathlon partnership will grow the organization and push the tour to new heights.

What was the decision-making process behind the rebrand of the PTO Tour into T100 and the move to partner with World Triathlon after so long?

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"The rebrand was one component of a broader strategy we put together in late 2022 – identifying the key ingredients within triathlon and from other sports that we could use to take the sport mainstream.

"The catalyst was the appointment of Chris Kermode, formerly head of the ATP in Tennis, as our executive chairman in October 2022, and included changes such as our choice of locations (must be iconic and ‘bucket list’); adding mass participation opportunities across swim, cycle, and running (not just triathlon); and, most importantly, moving to a season-long narrative, culminating with the crowning of World Champions, rather than just individual race winners. This was something Chris had successfully delivered in the tennis world, with the implementation of the ATP Tour Finals as a year-end finale.

"The new brand personified these changes, especially the season-long narrative.  It was also clear that we needed to be more explicit about this being a triathlon world tour as well as promote the exciting 100km distance which has delivered such compelling racing. We believe T100 will help us establish a powerful brand as well as a unique format, which will help in our mission to make the sport more mainstream."

How would you like to see this new World Triathlon relationship grow T100?

"The partnership with World Triathlon was key to enabling the new T100 series to become ‘the official World Championship tour of long-distance triathlon’, meaning our T100 series winners will be officially recognized as World Champions. Not just by us, but by the governing bodies of the sport – both national and international.

"We think that working with stakeholders within triathlon is the best way to establish the new T100 Triathlon World Tour as the pinnacle of the sport and work within its global calendar."

"It was also important from an amateur perspective, given we’ll be providing age-group opportunities at each of the legs; including the 100km distance at six stages: Singapore (13-14 April), London (27-28 July), Ibiza (28-29 September), Lake Las Vegas (19-20 October), Dubai (16-17 November) and at the Grand Final (29-30 November)."

In starting a wholly rebranded tour/venture what obstacles have you faced in securing commercial and media rights partnerships?

"This was the culmination of feedback we’ve had since launching in 2020. So although it’s challenging to launch something new, we’ve had the wind on our backs from partners and stakeholders that this is the right model to take the sport to the next level.

"One of the things that delayed the announcement of the T100 Triathlon World Tour calendar was getting all the required approvals and permits from the host cities we are visiting. Triathlon is obviously not stadium-based and we insist on complete road closures for our races, in order to create the best product for TV as well as for safety.

"Positive feedback from broadcasters on what we were doing, combined with encouraging audience figures during our first two seasons of the PTO Tour in 2022 and 2023, showed that we were on the right lines. For example, we delivered a global dedicated TV and streaming audience of 24.6 million for our three races in Ibiza, Milwaukee, and Singapore during 2023; through multiple top-tier broadcast partnerships that saw the races broadcast in 195+ territories around the world.

"That has led to good traction with brands within the triathlon and fitness space, such as Canyon, Garmin and Maurten, who have all quickly become official T100 partners."

Alternatively, how has the new partnership with World Triathlon aided the process?

"When new formats and organizations emerge in sport, they often have the unintended impact of fragmenting the very sport they aim to promote. In contrast, by collaborating with World Triathlon, this partnership has the opportunity to unite the sport under the common goal of growing triathlon – which is essential for the sport to become more mainstream."

Another entity you partnered with is IMG – how has that international agency's input shaped the rights sale processes of the tour?

"Our extension with IMG earlier this month represented a significant validation for the PTO and our strategy for the T100 Triathlon World Tour – a ‘made-for-TV’ 100km triathlon tour taking place in iconic locations around the globe, where the best triathletes go head-to-head.

"The positive reaction from broadcasters and fans encouraged us to expand the series to 8 races (from 3), in order to create stronger season-long narratives that elevate our races and amazing athletes.

"IMG has represented the PTO’s media rights since 2021, contributing to the growth and development of the endurance sports landscape and specifically working to establish our property as the F1 for endurance sport."

What was the logic behind selling rights via IMG as opposed to keeping it in-house?

"There are a number of benefits to working with an industry leader like IMG. As well as access to their global sports and entertainment network, it’s also about the influence of that network as we seek to establish the T100 Triathlon World Tour as the pinnacle of endurance sport.

"Taking a more historical view, the PTO is aiming to take triathlon on the same commercial journey that golf, tennis, and [mixed martial arts'] UFC have been through – the common thread in all of those being IMG."

One of T100's most prominent media deals is the continued partnership with Outside Interactive Inc. Entering its third full season as a partner, how has Outside aided the tour?

"Outside Interactive is a leading player in the endurance broadcast market, so we were glad to be continuing our journey with them, alongside a range of other broadcasters such as Warner Bros Discovery, who we have an exclusive relationship with in Europe.

"Establishing and growing the T100 series with their fanbase is important for us. So, as well covering the races live on their platform, they also show all race preview shows and season-long magazine content."

T100 is partnered already with a number of recognizable brands such as Garmin and Canyon that are firmly centered on the fitness and triathlon space, is that the target strategy for the tour’s brand partnerships and how do you plan to build on that?

"Having brands like Canyon, Garmin, and Maurten as official T100 partners is a great endorsement of what we’re doing.

"The next step is to secure commercial partnerships with non-endemic brands from other categories outside of triathlon and the general fitness space. This is one of the greatest opportunities that was identified when launching the PTO – that triathlon has one of the most valuable demographics in all of sport, but very few non-endemic brands operating in that space.

"We recognized that to appeal to these brands we’d need to have the scale to compete with other more mainstream sports, which is where the T100 Triathlon World Tour and our expanded series fit in. Visiting places like Singapore, San Francisco, London, and Dubai has led to a number of very positive conversations."

What are the PTO’s barometers for commercial success for the 2024 T100?

"Our first goal is to establish the T100 Triathlon World Tour as the place to see the best professional triathletes racing as well as take part in a unique amateur multisport experience.

"In terms of commercial goals beyond that, I’d point to expanding the tour from 8 to 10 events in 2025, which we’ve been very public about, as well as growing our commercial partnerships and expanding into brands from outside of triathlon and the fitness industry.

"One unexpected, but positive, impact of the T100 launch has been a host of inbound investment inquiries to join our existing investors, such as Sir Michael Moritz and Warner Bros Discovery. This is a great validation of the new tour’s potential, so we’ve appointed Oakvale Capital, an advisory firm in the sports and entertainment space, to evaluate them, whilst we focus on the first T100 season."