#2: Broader Appeal – The Lance Effect
Putting Lance in a skin suit and sending him out to swim bike and run on race day will bring attention to our sport beyond what is normal. But that doesn't take into account the multiple daily updates from Lance on Twitter, transmitted to over 3.3 million followers. This goes beyond the race-day effect; it essentially puts the triathlon lifestyle front and center for a brand new audience.
In addition, he will likely attract both new and veteran athletes alike to the events that he chooses to participate in. And let's not forget the events organized and/or sanctioned by the Livestrong Foundation (http://www.livestrong.org/take-action/team-livestrong-events/triathlon) that will benefit from increased participation and reach.
The Win/Loss Ratio
- WIN: The sport of triathlon in general can benefit from this exposure with the countless new participants Lance will inspire, especially at the shorter distances.
- WIN: The Livestrong Foundation , who in their 15th year needed a new jolt, could benefit from a new direction.
- WIN: Bike shops and other industry partners that will outfit all of the newbies.
- LOSS: Long-time triathletes who were already complaining about crowded events or too many newbies "mucking" up the race course.
- LOSS: Pro Triathletes that are used to the attention will have to share the spotlight with—and in some cases, take a back seat to—Lance, whether he wins or not.
#3 Strain on the Sport – Adapt and Absorb or Fade Away
A giant influx of new participants to triathlon represents a chance to reinvigorate and grow our sport. But it could also hasten its untimely demise.
Nothing takes the momentum out of a movement like expensive and confusing equipment, poorly organized races, insular team experiences and confusing training plans. In some cases, triathlon has all of those things already and an influx of participants could put more strain on the system.