24 Feb 2022
4 min read
Announcements ○ CEO's Column ○ Columns
Column by Super League Triathlon CEO Michael D’hulst
Releasing our documentary series Every Second Counts is another step in Super League’s mission to bring triathlon to a wider audience and tell the stories of our athletes in a way the sport has never seen before.
In today’s world people don’t digest sport in the same way they did 20 years ago. Previously it was ‘I’m watching the game, and the game is my experience of sport.’
Today with social media and other technology people want a 360 degree view. They want to know what is going on in the lives of their favourite athletes. They expect that kind of access. We are reacting to that and putting the fans first.
At Super League, we have made it a core part of our mission to be more than an event business, but also to become a media house. We see this as core to achieving our aim of making triathlon a spectator sport, and our series set-up lends itself so well to the kind of content modern audiences want to consume away from the race course.
What is unusual about Super League is that we are a closed league. That is unique in triathlon. We are a traveling circus where the same athletes race every event in a very condensed calendar. That creates a very interesting dynamic and a unique opportunity to give the fans access.
The environment we create for the racing as a by-product delivers an interesting opportunity for a deep dive into the athletes. It gives us the chance to showcase the emotions and what drives them while in a melting pot of racing, travel and having competitors around.
I am a fan of longer form content, because it gives you a deeper insight and the reality of things rather than snapshots which are often curated.
People have asked me why we would spend considerable time and also money on creating a four-part documentary series. The main driver of Every Second Counts is to fully align with the purpose of SLT making triathlon a spectator sport.
What we want is to showcase it to people, and through the athletes and their stories unlock new audiences and elevate the sport. Athletes can post on social media, but it will never be as in depth or topical as following them around a race series like this.
The feedback from the series has been unanimously fantastic, and what is particularly interesting is that so many people have quickly recognized the huge value of it to the athletes themselves.
We focus on the athletes that want to be a part of it, and our message to them is ‘be yourself, show your character and what drives you to try to be the best in the world and dedicate so much of your life to it. Show people the emotional rollercoaster you go through’.
They must show the reality, because that’s what people want to see and makes them buy into an athlete’s story.
Increasingly the athletes recognise the value of that and we want to work with athletes and managers to make it a reality, to allow them to almost step away from this curated image of a racer that’s a bit robotic and rediscover themselves, express themselves, and become personalities. Those that have given it a go have found it can be very uplifting for them as people, as well as benefiting them commercially.
What Super League does is create the environment where it can happen and the next step for us is to create partnerships to tick the box of what we want to achieve with wider visibility. That means partnerships with media houses and broadcasters to really take this unique piece of content and show it to the wider world and not only to triathletes. From the conversations we are having, Every Second Counts can do that for our sport.
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