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“There’s going to be a strong trend towards localisation” | Andrew Messick, Ironman

Over 140 Ironman events postponed or cancelled because of Covid-19 Staff have tried to match competitors to rescheduled races based on travel restrictions Mass participation events now allowed in New Zealand Though few sports are immune to the impact of Covid-19, it’s hard to think of an industry segment more acutely vulnerable than the mass participation business. While top-tier football and the US major leagues can schedule closed-door action to shore up television revenues and mitigate losses, there is no such recourse for a sector that depends to such a large extent on race fees and bringing large congregations of people together. Andrew Messick, chief executive of the Ironman Group, the world’s largest mass participation business, concedes that his company has “largely been out of business” since the middle of March, having had to either cancel or postpone over 140 events globally. Throw in Wanda Sports Group’s, not entirely unrelated, sale of the company to Advanced Publications and Orkila Capital just a few weeks into the pandemic, and you could say he has faced a fair amount of upheaval recently. Messick speaks to SportBusiness in what he describes as the ‘waxing and waning’ period between the signing and closing of the deal, as Wanda dials down its involvement and Advanced begins to acquaint itself with the business. Subject to regulatory approval, the $730m (€642m) sale is expected to conclude toward the end of June.

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