Triathlon: Report sends warning to Auckland organisers

By Dana Johannsen

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

This week's damning report into the rowing world championships has provided a cautionary tale for organisers of the two major triathlon events to be staged in Auckland over the next 18 months.

Auckland will host the ninth and final leg of the ITU World Cup series in November this year. The event will also serve as a test run for the 2012 world championship grand final - the sport's biggest showpiece.

At a time where the financial management of sporting events is in the spotlight following the huge budget blow-out of the Lake Karapiro regatta, David Beeche, head of Triathlon World Champs 2012, admits the pressure is on.

Organisers of last year's rowing world championships were heavily criticised in a report into the event, which posted a $2.2 million loss.

The government-commissioned report found a number of factors contributed to the loss, mostly relating to shortcomings in governance, inadequate financial management, and less revenue than expected from ticket sales.

Beeche said he has been taken on board a lot of the lessons gleaned from the robust report.

"I think there are a lot of lessons from that. In all major events in New Zealand you've just got to take the learnings from them and make sure you don't make similar mistakes," said Beeche.

"But you have to take the good out of it as well - the rowing was a fantastic event to go down and watch and be a part of, so it's just making sure the financial side of things is well-managed."

The organising committee has budgeted $4.5 million for the two events, and Beeche said the main chunk of that funding is already in place with local and central government contributing $2.2 million, providing a good platform to secure private backing.

There is no danger of over-inflated crowd projections coming back to haunt the organisers of the triathlon events as there is no ticketing for the event. Spectators can watch the triathlon action from any point along the central city course for free.

"Our risk profile is slightly different to the rowing in that we don't have ticket sales, so we're going to have a pretty clear revenue picture sort of three months out from the event. We're more reliant on entry-fee revenue," said Beeche.

Despite limited revenue opportunities, organisers have set a fairly modest surplus target of $100,000.

"I think it's really important you go in to these events with a profit mentality, rather than just a survival, break-even mentality. We've just been through our forecasting process again and we're on track at this stage," he said.

- NZ Herald

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