Super League Triathlon launches major expansion

With next week’s Collins Cup bringing a team element into the traditionally individual world of triathlon, and following the success of Mixed Relay triathlon’s Olympic debut, Super League Triathlon have announced a significant change to their setup, with SLT Teams.

Seemingly drawing upon learnings from other sports – the Indian Premier League and The Hundred in cricket, the Tour Series in cycling, NFL etc – with a colourful, franchise model, the upcoming September Championship Series will have both individual and team themes running through the racing. It will also have more (if slightly complex) money on offer to the athletes.

Will SLT Teams “change the face of triathlon”, as SLT CEO Michael D’hulst claims? That will take time to evaluate, but what I personally find interesting is that SLT Teams, as presented now for September 2021, is not the end – almost the ‘straw man’ starting point/product, with input and feedback from outside of the Super League Triathlon organisers impacting how it develops in the future:

“It’s an ever-changing dynamic and by bringing new stakeholders into the sport and empowering them to shape this concept in the future rather than dictating to them, we believe it will help grow triathlon even further.”

Sounds to me as though the PTO and SLT have plenty of aligned goals, even if the format (and distances) of how they want to get there are significantly different. I continue to believe they will, over time, work more closely together.

Super League Triathlon (SLT) has announced the launch of a quintet of franchise teams – part of a major expansion – as the organisation looks to shape the future of Triathlon.

SLT is keen to capitalise on the sport’s rapid growth and is eager to add a team element to its repertoire of races. It will run a competition for the teams during four Championship Series events in September.

Five legends of the sport – Chris McCormack, Tim Don, Annie Emerson, Ronnie Schildknecht and Michelle Dillon – will manage the five teams named SLT Scorpions, SLT Eagles, SLT Cheetahs, SLT Rhinos and SLT Sharks.

SLT Teams / Super League Triathlon

They will the compete at the Championship Series events in London (September 5), Munich (September 12), Jersey (September 18) and Malibu, USA (September 25).

40 triathletes will be selected by the team managers during a Live Draft on August 26 – the event streamed live on SLT’s official YouTube channel.

The concept is set to bring with it an extra $320,000 in prize money to SLT’s 2021 Championship Series, with every athlete who competes – no matter where they place – taking home a slice of the prize pool.

Super League Triathlon CEO, Michael D’hulst, said: “By adding SLT Teams to our 2021 Championship Series we are expanding the ecosystem of Super League Triathlon to deliver a vision to grow our sport. By setting up teams we are adding additional stakeholders to help develop the concept and truly creating something special, driven by the passion and the desire to give this sport a brighter future.

“The racing will bring not only the individual battles we love but also a new tactical element, promoting the swimmers, bikers and runners in triathlon and seeing them play a role in their Team’s success. The Team Managers will input to not only mentor the athletes but also attempt to deliver winning tactics.

“There will be extensive coverage of SLT Teams, allowing fans to understand what is happening, hear from the managers and scrutinise their decisions. The athletes also get the chance to be a key part of this, and the chance to be rewarded for their efforts in a way they never have before with something of a redistribution of wealth to help those away from the top few to also grow and develop in the sport.”

Stuart Dick
Written by
Stuart Dick
Stuart is a graduate of the University of Sunderland with a masters' degree in Sports Journalism. He spends a lot of his time running and cycling around West Yorkshire, England.
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