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PTO agrees multi-year broadcast deal with Warner Bros. Discovery

The PTO have today announced a major broadcast partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery for Europe

Chief Correspondent
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The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) has announced a major new broadcast partnership as it prepares for the eagerly-awaited Canadian Open later this month.

A multi-year partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery, announced on Wednesday, includes live and on-demand coverage of the new PTO Tour – which starts with that Edmonton showpiece on July 23 and 24.

The agreement will see exclusive live coverage in 50 territories across Europe on linear channels and streamed via discovery+, the Eurosport App and GCN+.

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PTO broadcast strategy

With the hugely positive reaction both within and outside of the sport to the recent broadcast of the Sub7Sub8 Project, plus news from Super League Triathlon earlier this week that the Arena Games Triathlon Series earlier this year reached an audience of 21.7 million across 136 countries, the development of these media relationships is key to the long-term health of the sport.

Much of the PTO’s business model is built around the (broadcast) value which top-level live sport from the best athletes in the world can drive. Clearly it is hoped this latest deal is another step towards achieving that goal.

Triathlon should gain further eyes globally at the end of this month too, with the sport opening the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. As part of a major global multisport event, that will certainly bring in viewers from outside of the traditional swim / bike / run world.

Turning some of those into long-term fans is an important task, and there are increasingly more viable ways in which to do that, with options from SLT, PTO, World Triathlon, IRONMAN and others.

Building on the Collins Cup

The agreement builds on Warner Bros. Discovery’s far-reaching broadcast of the inaugural Collins Cup last year, the PTO’s $1.5M flagship race which pits Europe versus Internationals versus USA. That event reached a live and on-demand TV audience in more than 175 territories – unprecedented for triathlon.

Team Europe Collins Cup Results2021
Team Europe celebrate with the Collins Cup in August 2021.

Tim Godfrey, Chief Marketing Officer for the PTO said: “The global broadcast viewing figures for the Collins Cup in 2021 surpassed all expectations and demonstrated that there is an appetite for compelling live broadcasts of Triathlon events that appeal not only to the fans of endurance sports, but also to the general sports enthusiast.

“That success, combined with the great numbers and engagement we saw around the Herbalife24 PTO Pro Am broadcast in May this year, helped shape our thinking on how to build this new partnership, which includes more standout events and an exciting combination of live, shoulder programming and editorial content across Warner Bros. Discovery’s impressive broadcast, digital and social platforms. This partnership around the PTO Tour is primed to take the sport and its superhuman athletes to the next level.” 

PTO Athlete Board Member Alistair Brownlee echoed that as he said: “Last year’s Collins Cup was a pivotal moment for the athletes as well as the sport, with the highest prize in the sport’s history and a ground-breaking made-for-TV format.”

“In 2022, we are all excited to see how we can partner with Warner Bros. Discovery to take this further and ensure the PTO Tour events set a gold standard for broadcasting within our sport.”  

What’s included in the deal?

Highlights of the new partnership include:

  • PTO Tour events broadcast exclusively live and on demand in Europe on Eurosport linear channels and streaming via discovery+ and the Eurosport App, as well as non-exclusively in Asia and exclusively across the Indian Subcontinent.
  • PTO Tour events to benefit from Warner Bros. Discovery’s global scale and local delivery with each live broadcast delivered with localised commentary in 20 languages.
  • Tapping into the ‘Home of Cycling’ via the passionate cycling audiences engaged by Global Cycling Network (GCN) globally and through their popular triathlon outlet, Global Triathlon Network (GTN).
  • Amplify PTO triathletes and PTO Tour events on Eurosport.com, which engages more than 50 million people each month, through the creation of a dedicated triathlon section alongside news and feature articles and near-live clips across social media.
  • Broadcast of shoulder programming, including linear countdown shows and athlete short-form features.
  • On-demand race highlights featuring the best moments from each event.

#TheRaceIsOn

That’s the branding of the PTO’s new global marketing campaign, which coincides with Wednesday’s announcement, designed to build awareness and excitement around the first-ever PTO Tour.

Expect to see more of that over the coming weeks, along with the promotional video below.

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Commenting on the partnership, Trojan Paillot, Vice President, Sports Rights Acquisitions and Syndication, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, said:

“The new PTO Tour is a fantastic proposition, as we saw first-hand from the Collins Cup last year. We are hugely excited to provide the scale and expertise of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, using the reach of our broadcast network and engagement at scale of our digital platforms to support the growth of the PTO Tour.”

“We have a unique ability to reach audiences wherever they are choosing to consume support – whether on TV, streaming or online. Alongside the breadth of coverage, content and programming we will present, this ensures we will engage existing and new fans of triathlon across Europe and beyond.”

Scott Young, Senior Vice President, Content and Production, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, added: “As Home of the Olympics in Europe, we know triathletes have some of the most compelling stories in sport. Our role as storytellers is to bring these stories to as many people as possible, offering the PTO and its athlete members a year-round platform to showcase their extraordinary talents.

“We will bring these stories to current and new audiences alike, supported by Warner Bros. Discovery’s extensive sports and entertainment expertise and the PTO’s outstanding production and capabilities to help tell the athlete’s stories. Taken together, this offers the potential to elevate and grow the sport as we establish an undisputed ‘Home of Triathlon’ for fans everywhere.”

In 2023 and 2024, the PTO Tour plans to expand further with the PTO European Open and the PTO Asian Open, alongside their US and Canadian equivalents and The Collins Cup. 

John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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