Part of its supposed appeal is the popularity of ironman events these days and the speed with which they have been selling out. The program, therefore, shunts you to the front of the ever extending queue of people willing to submit themselves to the ironman challenge.
But get this - if you want the privilege of committing to an ironman event a week before anyone else, you have to fork over the princely sum of $1000 to the WTC for a year's membership to Ironman Access.
And that's in US dollars!
So what does $1000 give you? In addition to the privilege of entering your selected ironman event(s) a week earlier than everyone else there are a number of additional benefits that are supposed to make this an appealing proposition. Here's a quick run-through, and actual cost outside the program:
- 2 entries into the Kona Lottery (available already through the lottery and passport program for US$90)
- A year's subscription to LAVA magazine (US$19.95)
- The 2010 Kona DVD (estimated at US$34.95)
- A 20% discount on shopironman.store partner merchandise and on-site event retail stores (of no value unless you spend more money, but good value for money if you're planning to fork out over $5,000 on ironman stuff.)
- 2 VIP passes per registered event
- Membership ID card.
Oh, and the privilege of committing to ironman a week before everyone else does.
I don't think that represents particularly good value for money.
In fact I struggle to think why anyone would want to take up this deal. Yes, the WTC are in the business of making money, and all power to them. But to my way of thinking they’ve got this decision around the wrong way.
As far as I know, ironman events, while popular, aren’t yet selling out in seconds the way tickets to rock concerts do. It’s not a situation where you sit on your computer, connected to the internet, waiting for entries to open and hoping you’re going to be lucky enough to get in and secure a spot within the first millisecond. Even if that were the case, bands and ticketing agencies don't charge exorbitant amounts of money for people to secure tickets prior to general release. At worst you'd pay a nominal amount to be a member of the band's fan club. At best you simply join the mailing list for the ticketing agency or it can be even as simple has possessing a credit card.
The people that are missing out on an ironman entry are those who wait a few days or weeks before being ready to take the hit on their credit card. If they are that keen, then, and they know it is an event that typically sells out, then they will be ready and will get their entry in in plenty of time. Being a member of Ironman Access isn't going to help that.
What the WTC should have done is reserved places at each event for later entries and make the Ironman Access program available for those spots. That way people who don’t/can’t/won’t enter early still have a choice of paying an additional premium to use the Ironman Access program to secure their spot.
Whichever way they do it, though, $1000 is still excessive and anyone who goes for it needs their head read.