Prior to becoming a marathoner, and long before stepping into the waters of triathlon, I was a student at The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business Administration. Graduating with a degree in Finance, I like to think I know a little bit about business. And as a strong believer in the capital free market system, supply and demand are always on my mind.
It is interesting how markets sometimes get turned on their heads. This past Monday is a good example of how that can occur. Registering for an Ironman event costs well over $450. After considering items such as dinner and awards banquet tickets, USAT membership, insurance, and additional fees, that total quickly tops $500. And as my co-workers put it, that's $500 we are willing to pay in order to place huge demands on our bodies for anywhere from 9 to 17 hours.
And Ironman Wisconsin 2007 sold out in less than an hour. The demands upon Active.com's servers were so severe it was practically impossible to get a stable connection, and it is quite likely that thousands of hopefuls were unable to sign up. That means there are literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential registration fees that are lost each race.
Obviously it takes a huge effort to put together an Ironman race. Yet business sense would say that the supply far outstrips the demand. An additional race or two would likely sell out nearly as quickly and still leave many searching for an open race.
Sensible or not, it is obvious that triathlons, especially the Ironman triathlon is a huge success. Tens of thousands of people complete events in the United States, each year. And additional scores of thousands struggle to even find an available slot for those races. Regardless of what outsiders think about the prospect of racing 140.6 miles in three disciplines, all in 17 hours or less, Ironmen and those who would earn the title place a huge demand on an extremely limited resource.
For those who would sign up for an upcoming race, take a hint from Roman, use multiple computers running several registration windows. Anything short of that might leave you in a lurch. Better yet, get to the race site the morning after the event. That will drastically improve your odds of a successful registration.
For those interested in Team raceAthlete that were unable to claw their way into IM MOO 2007, start identifying your key races and share them with the rest of the team. The Main Event might be in Wisconsin on September 9, 2007, but there are hundreds of other opportunities to show your stuff. Let's continue to show there is a huge demand for additional IM events.
Perhaps Bolder can even get his eagerly sought after IM Boulder event.