It’s been confirmed that next month’s scheduled Super League Triathlon has been cancelled.
While saying the news of the cancellation is disappointing, Mayor John Vassilaki maintained race organizers are welcome to re-apply to stage similar events down the road.
“This was the last year of their (organizers MB Events) contract and they would have had to re-negotiate and I don’t think they saw it in their favour as the participants kept dropping year after year and it just wasn’t economically feasible for them to continue,” said Vassilaki, Monday. “But it doesn’t mean they can’t come back in the future and come up with something different, but again it will be up to them as to what they want to do.”
Jim Bauer, Penticton’s chief financial officer, said race organizer Michael Brown (MB Events owner) approached the municipality earlier about the race cancellation and not paying the final annual $60,000 instalment to the city which was part of an earlier agreement.
“I had discussed things with Michael and he had put forward the request and we looked into that and accommodated the request to cancel the event,” said Bauer. “We didn’t part on bad company at all, it was just in terms things weren’t working out for him and the city sort of looked into the whole situation and was willing to relieve him of his financial obligations.
“It was a five-year agreement, he fulfilled his end of the agreement until this point in time so there’s no reason we felt we shouldn’t accommodate the request.”
As part of the arrangement, the city provided up to $110,000 in-kind support each year for Brown’s events which also included the Challenge Penticton triathlon which ended in 2017.
According to Bauer, the cancellation of the Super League event that was scheduled for Aug. 23 to 25 will result in a net, in-kind savings of $50,000 to the city.
Brown, along with then-partner Kevin Cutjar, purchased the triathlon licence from the City of Penticton in 2014, agreeing to host triathlons from 2015 to 2019 and pay the city $60,000 annually for a total purchase price of $300,000.
In 2013, the first year of Challenge Penticton, the city lost $377,032.
Ironically, news of the Super League cancellation comes at the same time of an expected announcement Tuesday that Ironman Canada is returning to its Penticton roots in 2020 after leaving the Peach City over six years ago.
The first Super League event in 2018, which organizers estimated to have over 1,000 registrations over three events, ran into problems as a result of the extensive smoke from wildfires.
The pro races had to be cancelled on the Saturday afternoon and all events were cancelled the next day.
If Ironman does announce it’s coming back to Penticton next year there is still some question about what will happen to its Whistler event where it moved to after leaving here.
Initial projections from Ironman Canada is that bringing the race back to Penticton would draw 2,500 athletes and 10,000 total visitors.
Attempts to contact Brown were unsuccessful.