Triathlon to Debut New Race Format in 2016 -- Feds Focus

(ATR) Also; WBSC rights 2017 go to MP & Silva; FISU partners with Oteko; Sport Climbing holds plenary assembly in Iran.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 31: Athletes exit the water after completing swim leg during the Vitality World Triathlon London - ITU World Championships Series at Hyde Park on May 31, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 31: Athletes exit the water after completing swim leg during the Vitality World Triathlon London - ITU World Championships Series at Hyde Park on May 31, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

(ATR) The International Triathlon Union (ITU) will introduce a new race format at the 2016 Kitzbühel World Cup to be held in Austria from June 18-19.

The innovative new format will have athletes compete in a time trial in the morning followed by the race later in the afternoon.

The time trial consists of two-thirds of the sprint triathlon distance with athletes entering the trial at 30 second intervals. The top 30 athletes will then advance to the main event later in the day.

The podium race will be contested on a super-sprint triathlon course, one-third the distance of a regular sprint race to compensate for the extra energy spent by athletes in the qualifying round. All athletes will begin at the same time in the final round.

"As we continue exploring ways in which we can evolve the sport of triathlon with exciting formats, it’s my pleasure to see this new format tested out in such a forward-thinking place like Kitzbühel," said ITU president and IOC member Marisol Casado.

The ITU says the new format allows more athletes to compete on the playing field at once with the staggered-start and also gives junior and U-23 athletes an opportunity to experience the speed of elite racing.

"I’d like to extend a warm thank you to the ITU team to permit us to work on a new format like this," said Triathlon Austria President Walter Zettinig, "We are looking forward to organizing a great World Cup race in Kitzbühel again."

The ITU says the faster format will be useful to athletes competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics as it’s an opportunity to hone their speed. The local organizing committee says the format will also be more attractive to television broadcasters.

MP & Silva Lands World Baseball Classic 2017 Rights

The World Baseball Softball Confederation has given international media rights agency MP & Silva the global media distribution rights to the World Baseball Classic 2017.

The World Baseball Classic is contested every four years and is considered the premier international baseball tournament for the world’s top players.

The global agreement excludes markets in the United States, Japan and Puerto Rico, but grants the company access to distribution rights for television, internet, mobile and radio formats. The 2017 edition marks the first time MP & Silva will be granted rights in Canada.

"MP & Silva was a valuable partner in the last edition of the tournament and we look forward to expanding our relationship with them for the 2017 World Baseball Classic," said Chris Park, senior vice president of growth, strategy & international for Major League Baseball.

"This event is integral to the continued growth and development of baseball internationally and MP & Silva’s experience in global media distribution will help deliver this exciting tournament to an even larger worldwide audience," he says.

MP & Silva also held many of the distribution rights around the world for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

"MP & Silva has a great interest in acquiring prestigious baseball properties as a way to diversify our portfolio of sports media rights," said MP & Silva chief executive officer Marco Auletta. "Our distribution of the 2013 World Baseball Classic enjoyed unprecedented success for global distribution and viewership, and we aim to surpass those targets with the 2017 edition."

The next World Baseball Classic is set to take place in March 2017.

FISU Partners with OTEKO

The International University Sports Federation (FISU) has agreed to a deal with the United Transport and Forwarding Company (OTEKO) that will extend through 2020.

FISU is set to host more World University Championships than ever before in 2016 and says this strategic partnership boosts the federation’s commercial portfolio. FISU will oversee 34 championships throughout 2016 with the first being held in Tula, Russia from Feb. 10-16.

"The deal last week with OTEKO was an important step forward for FISU and the University sports movement," FISU president Oleg Matytsin tells Around the Rings. "It boosts FISU’s financial capacity over four years and significantly supports our long-term planning."

The deal was signed by Matytsin and FISU secretary general Eric Saintrond along with general director of OTEKO’s Russian branch Irina Trifonova in Lausanne, Switzerland.

OTEKO is the largest private investor in port infrastructure in Southern Russia.

"We are pleased to become a partner of FISU," says OTEKO general director Sergey Gubinets. "The number of events FISU owns makes it a powerful sports brand and it also has the wider ambition of spreading the University spirit, which we really support.

"FISU’s vision is to create a world where every leader in society has had a positive experience of University sport," Matytsin tells ATR. "To have such a great company helping us achieve this goal firmly underlines that we are on the right track."

IFSC Plenary Assembly Held in Iran

The 11th Annual Plenary Assembly of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) was held in Tehran, Iran on Feb. 20 with 34 member federations in attendance.

One of the main topics of discussion at a press conference following the assembly was the sport’s bid to be included in Tokyo 2020.

Marco Maria Scolaris, the IFSC President, told reporters "We believe that if all five sports are accepted for Tokyo 2020, they will add great value to the Olympic Games in Japan. We cannot say anything about the format at this point as the decision has not been taken yet. We believe that Sport Climbing has all the assets: new, fresh, young".

A decision on which sports make the cut for 2020 will be decided by the IOC in early August.

Written by Kevin Nutley and Gerard Farek

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