The Business of Success
Greg Bennett is one of the sport’s most enduring athletes, having achieved great success over the Olympic distance and non-drafting format and more recently transferred that to the longer form of the sport.
His career has spanned two decades, and his resume includes wins at all the majors and the envy of many.
Challenge Family recently caught up with Greg to ask him about the roadmap he took to achieve that success and allowing him and his equally successful wife and Team Bennett partner Laura the freedom to pursue the experiences they wanted.
We look back to where it all started for him, touch on the present and forward to his thoughts and advice on the business of triathlon for professional triathletes.
“The key to what I’m saying below is not that it’s all about money, but about experiences. In order to get more experiences I’ve needed the funds to make it happen. I never chased the dollar – I chased the experiences!”
Challenge Family: When you started out in triathlon what were your aims/goals?
Greg Bennett: My aims/ goals have always been simple, to race often and try and win when I can. When I started out those races were local and club races. As I improved, I started to look at State, National and finally global events. I love the sport of Triathlon, the people the challenges and the places we visit. I’ve always wanted to experience as much as the sport has to offer.
CF: Every athlete struggles when they first turn pro – tell us how you faired and how you worked to change that (sponsors, building good relationships with RD’s etc., media/PR). Can we turn that around so that sponsors do see value in athletes racing in other major races?
GB: It’s up to the sponsors to decide what they see as valuable. The biggest influence on any company wanting to sponsor events or athletes will be their media exposure. If the media focus on one event, the sponsors will follow and in turn the athletes will follow. If other events want the athletes to come they should balance their focus on staging a great race, bringing the best athletes and the best media to their events and then the sponsorships will follow. Certain events blind athletes, media, and sponsors. The marketing machine behind certain events can be very attractive for most to get involved. A great event will attract the athletes and media and in turn the sponsors. A poor event can continue for a while, but at some point it will collapse.
CF: How important is it to your sponsors to race often and podium? Or do they see more value in just the high profile races?
GB: Personally my sponsors love to see me race often and win often. Titles are great to have as they give a one-line summary of your career, ‘Olympic Champ’ or ‘World Champ’. But an athlete that just has this fades away if they don’t keep in the spot light.