As IRONMAN returned to racing in 2021, it also provided its fourth straight year of live event coverage on Facebook Watch via the IRONMAN® Now channel. Throughout 2021, The IRONMAN Group Productions showcased its ability to produce and deliver world-class, live, engaging, and globally accessible content through 17 live IRONMAN events reaching a worldwide audience.
Nearly 56 million triathlon fans around the globe consumed 738,000 hours of live and on-demand content from the 17 live IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3® events through IRONMAN’s official social media channels during the 2021 season.
The year of live triathlon race coverage was highlighted by the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission as viewers from around the world tuned in to see Gustav Iden (NOR) and Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) claim the world championship titles in St. George, Utah. In total, the event saw over 7 million live and on-demand video views, equating to over 115,000 hours of race coverage consumed.
“We are proud to bring our series of IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events to a global audience through engaging and high-quality content,” said Julia Polloreno, Global Director of Content for The IRONMAN Group. “As a brand we are continuously striving to elevate the sport of triathlon, our athletes, fans and partners to a greater level.”
Through fully produced live event coverage hosted by past champions of IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events around the globe, including Dede Griesbauer, Matt Lieto, and Michael Lovato, as well as IRONMAN World Champions and Hall of Famers Michellie Jones and Greg Welch, audiences have been able to reconnect with the sport they love after a challenging 2020. The extensive live coverage incorporated unique viewer interaction through real-time polls, fan discussion, and user-generated content from spectators along the course.
The live event coverage provided exclusive views into the compelling stories and breathtaking destinations that hosted these grueling endurance events. From the shadows of the stunning red rock canyons in St. George, Utah, that kicked off the season with the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN® 70.3® North American Championship, to the rolling plains of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the breathtaking backdrop of Mallorca, Spain to the shores of Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, the live event broadcasts have continued to showcase some of the most desirable destinations on the planet, which serve as the stage for both professional and age-group triathletes alike.
In May, The IRONMAN Group Productions also launched ‘A Fighting Chance’, a race-week series that takes viewers into the inner, everyday lives of elite triathletes for a real, unfiltered look at the athlete journey. Cameras and production crews went behind the scenes to offer a rare glimpse at athletes chasing their triathlon goals, attempting to turn dreams into reality. As one of the toughest single-day athletic challenges, The IRONMAN Group Productions crew aimed to uncover what it truly takes to have A Fighting Chance at triathlon glory.
In each episode the audience is not only granted access to the private lives of the athletes, but also enjoy an inside look at the final hours of preparation both for the racers and the race organizers. Through the series, viewers are afforded this exclusive insider perspective from the world’s most iconic endurance events staged around the globe. For the three episodes that aired prior to the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission, viewers accounted for nearly 3 million video views. The inaugural year for the series was a major success which resulted in being shortlisted for the SportsPro OTT Awards for Best Original Content.
The 2021 live broadcast season concluded with the IRONMAN African Championship live from Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa on Nov. 21. This, plus a wide-range of on-demand programming, is available on Facebook Watch globally via the IRONMAN Now Facebook Watch Page.
Plans and further details for the 2022 live coverage schedule and additional content production will be announced in coming months, with exciting new offerings being planned.