Friday, January 23, 2009

Triathlon Recession proof?

Recently I saw this same article in Triathlon life ( the USAT magazine). Its about how triathlon as an industry seems to continue to grow despite the bad economy. In one paragraph they said the following:

"It helps that the Ironman competitors have an average income of $161,000, according to WTC research, and that triathletes in general have higher incomes on average than the general population. They're not immune to shifts in the economy, of course, just perhaps better equipped to deal with financial adversity."

I think they are missing the whole point in this article. It doesn't really matter how much money you are making, when the economy is bad, everyone freaks. And those same people spending on triathlon may very well be cutting back on other areas of their lives.

I think the real reason Triathlon is not suffering yet is that triathlon has a tendency to become a way of life. Meaning its the gateway to better health and fitness for most of us. Think about it. You play golf every week. It serves as a mental escape, and probably a social environment. So when hard times hit, guess what? you can achieve all that by other means that do not require spending hundreds of dollars in green fees. Plus you can still go golfing but less frequently.

Triathlon on the other hand requires that you incorporate working out and eating better to your daily life. It offers more than just a mental break, or as a means to get together socially ( which it does do) it also requires that you find the time to workout at the very least once a day for probably 6 days a week. If you did more than one triathlon then you have probably already incorporated this into your lifestyle. PLUS at the end of the training you get this adventure called a race. Once you incorporate any activity into your daily life it becomes difficult to get rid of.

Dont get me wrong me I think the triathletes are in fact cutting back. Use me as an example, I cut back on activities that do not directly relate to triathlon such as I am signing up for less running races as part of training. I choose to NOT get the latest and greatest gadgets if it requires I spend money on them, and continue with what I have. ( note the Garmin I paid with frequent flyer points) BUT I will still sign up for my triathlons.

So in general I think they missed the true reason Triathlon seems to be resisting the economic downturn Its not about money, its because we are freaks. ;)


ramster said...

there is also a considerable lag due to the need to commit so far in advance for these events, as much as a year in advance. we havent seen the full impact of the current downturn, and probably wont until 2011.

Jamie said...

I'm totally with you. Triathlon is such a staple in my life at this point whatever the economy does, I'm still going to train and race, but the way I approach it will be completely different.
I'll still be doing the same amount of races, but will be spending a lot less on gear and experimenting with new toys and gadgets.
And it looks like that Cervelo P2 that I've been dreaming of may have to wait for another year... sigh

Ryan said...

Finally, someone acknowledges the elephant in the room: triathletes are barking mad.

I've noticed that all of the press related to triathlon being recession proof has used the USAT membership numbers as evidence. Methinks that the triathlon equipment manufacturers have a different story to tell.

Javier said...

Ram, Sorry but negative news is not allowed here in OpIronman. 2011 will be the year of the rebound!

Jamie, your P2 will come. Its well worth the wait.

Ryan, you are right. We are freaks. But you are right I know that I myself have not even spent the money yet an a new bike helmet ( old one got smashed when I broke my collarbone) because I have no plans on riding outdoors until March when the snow clears. Monthly Budget now :(

ramster said...

funny, i thought that sticking my head in the sand for 2 years was POSITIVE :) and of course everything is going to be wonderful well before 2011, now that evrything has changed ;)

Javier said...

I am glad that we are all in agreement about the forthcoming economic turnaround lol Go BAM!

Philip LaVoie said...

I agree with ramster. I'll toss the WTC pricey events if this continues, but because i already laid out for the im a year in advance it's lagging. i'll be trimming back on the other races this year too. prolly only friends gigs (like evil evan's) & more self supported group stuff if the belt tightens.

ramster said...

Jaav, heres a new term i saw on the tele this am - Baracksploitation!

we all need to invest in some obama commemeorative coins, mugs, and yes- OBAMA THONGS are now available!

Javier said...

I'm thinking I will pass on the Thongs lol