This series of posts is concerning the new WTC's (World Triathlon Corperation) new Pro License for all official M-Dot branded Ironman and 70.3 events. I will try and present a balanced discussion over three parts.
- The first part (which can be found here) looks at the official WTC line and the view of Graeme Stewart who tries to find the positives in the new scheme (though he clearly isn't a fan)
- The second part will look at the aim of this initiative - to bring to life an Anti-Doping Program.
- The third part will discuss the thoughts of Greg Remaly and myself concerning who are the real winners and losers with the introduction of the new membership. 

The WTC Annual Pro License (Add to cart: 1 @ $750. SPECIAL OFFER: Race the Worlds for only $300 (£200) extra)

For an annual payment of $750 (USD) a pro athlete gets "complimentary" entry to all WTC owned Ironman events. However, this does not include either World Championship event, which will cost an extra $300. This money is being put towards a Pro Anti-Doping Program. Perhaps what is more interesting is in the small print, or rather rule changes that are being tagged on to this laudable initiative but are in fact yet another cash grab.

From 2010 Pro athletes will only be eligible for prize money if they finish within 8% of the winners time (formerly 10% of second place). Unclaimed prize money will not be redistributed. This rule also applies to Championship qualification spots where are previously there was no such standard.

A Pro Loyalty Card or handcuffs?

Or it that more? (Thanks Graeme for the image)

As a typical 70.3 event costs $250, if you manage to race three or more events you can appear to make a saving. And indeed Pro athletes who pay this money would be wise to do so to make sure they get their value for money, however I believe this is an example of false economy. It is like going to the supermarket and buying a 3 for 2 deal when you really only wanted one. As WTC own the market share, most "big events" are now running on this false economy principle, so most people will buy into them. The point being, it is only a saving if you were planning on doing more than 3 events in the first place. Personally, I raced 2 qualifying events in 2008 and 3 events in 2009, so the false economy holds true for my situation.

However, this is even more disingenuous that it appears above. Most Pro athletes manage to get genuine complimentary entries at a couple of races a year. Personally I have only paid an entry at my first 70.3 qualifying event (and World Champs) so the new membership would cost me an additional $750 and save me nothing. Another way of putting it; the World Champs now comes with a massive $1050 (£650) entry fee!

Graeme Stewart tries to see the positive in the membership program by highlighting it's money saving potential, and seeing it as a loyalty card. Seeing that $750 would take up a sizeable proportion, if not all, of a Pro Athlete's race entry fund, then athletes are going to be loyal to the WTC in order to get their value for money. At the same time, they are unlikely to pay to enter a Challenge Series when there is no Championship at the end. Is this a truly a loyalty card, or a set of handcuffs?

With a loyalty card, you get something back at the end, rewarding your loyalty. Points so you can buy some form of household appliance? With this scheme you get nothing back, you get less than in previous years because your chances of attaining prize money are reduced. And if you do get some, first of all you have to pay off the $750 you forked out in the first place to be doing the races you otherwise got for free.

Room for one more??

The Pro Membership handcuffs you to a series with even less profitable potential than in previous years, why do it? To race a sham World Championships? I wouldn't bother Comments