More than 20,000 athletes, family, friends, volunteers and staff are expected
KAILUA-KONA, Hawai`i/ TAMPA, Fla. (October 7, 2019) – There is little question the iconic IRONMAN® World Championship, held annually in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i, is in a league of its own among globally recognized sporting events. Once again, history is expected to be made a week from today as approximately 2,500 of the world’s best triathletes descend on the Kona Coast for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship on Saturday, October 12.
While epic visions emerge of athletes conquering the Kailua Bay swim, the bike across barren lava fields and the run along Ali`i Drive, there is still far more to know about this iconic event. With a weeklong set of festivities and side events before the big day, in addition to the abundance of tourist activities, the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship is expected to bring a massive economic boost to Hawai`i.
“We are excited to welcome more than 20,000 of our IRONMAN `Ohana, to the beautiful community here in Kailua-Kona to be a part of the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship `Ohana,” said Diana Bertsch, Senior Vice President of World Championship Events for The IRONMAN Group. “We take pride in the significant impact of this event, from the inspirational athletes and their physical accomplishments, to the benefits for the local communities and showcasing of this amazing location to the world.”
Situated on the western coast of the Island of Hawai`i, Kailua-Kona provides visitors a warm and sunny environment perfect for snorkeling, sunbathing and swimming. Combined with world famous golf courses and resorts, there are plenty of leisure and adventure activities within driving distance. Starting in Kona, guests can travel through all but four of the world’s different climate zones thanks to the unique geological features of the Island of Hawai`i. Ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra, visitors can experience the rich coffee fields of Kona, jet-black sands of Punalu`u Beach, lush valleys of the Hilo and Hāmākua Coasts, and the snow-capped heights of Mauna Kea. In all, Kona and the Island of Hawai`i is an unrivaled expression of the power of nature.
Taking advantage of all that Hawai`i has to offer, athletes, their family and friends stay an average of six nights for the world’s pinnacle event, helping to bring an expected total economic impact of more than $30 million. Going beyond tourism, the event also creates tangible change in the community through the IRONMAN Foundation’s distribution of charitable giveback to nonprofit initiatives and groups in the Kailua-Kona community. This year’s grant funding of more than $120,000 brings the total giveback awarded in the region to over $1.8 million across 1,325 nonprofit organizations.
“Kona has been home to the IRONMAN World Championship since 1981 and we take great pride in sharing our amazing community with the world each October,” added Bertsch. “Every year the event continues to grow as does the `ohana who come to witness history being made each year. The IRONMAN World Championship’s global appeal, in combination with the surreal beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, makes for the perfect competitive destination. We are extremely honored to extend our Aloha to all who come to experience this amazing event.”
Creating further world-wide exposure, the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship will enjoy 20 hours of comprehensive live race-day coverage globally via IRONMAN Now™ on Facebook Watch and through regional television coverage, including NBC Sports in the United States. This year’s IRONMAN World Championship live coverage continues to give viewers a front row seat to everything from the early morning body marking to the final hour finish-line celebration. Last year’s coverage had nearly 20 million total views on Facebook Watch with the expectation for that to grow even further in 2019.
In addition to race-day coverage, the continuation of the sports documentary television series “IRONMAN: Quest for Kona® fueled by Gatorade Endurance” will return for a third season. The series will profile five triathletes from around the world and their journeys to the Vega IRONMAN World Championship. In 2018, this episodic series, which aired on NBC and Facebook, reached over 7.6 million viewers. Air dates for the 2019 edition of “IRONMAN: Quest for Kona® fueled by Gatorade Endurance” will be announced in the near future.
For more information about the event, please visit www.ironman.com/worldchampionship.
About the Vega IRONMAN World Championship
Since its inception in 1978 on the island of Oahu, the IRONMAN® World Championship has etched its name in history through stellar performances, inspirational participants and emotional memories. In 1981, the race moved from the tranquil shores of Waikiki to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Island of Hawai`i where it continues to take place to this day. The race now sees over 2,500 athletes embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN World Champion. The most iconic one-day sporting event in the world is the culmination of 40 global IRONMAN events with athletes around the world striving for one of the coveted qualifying slots. In 2019, the event will be utilizing the theme `Ohana which in Hawaiian culture represents a specially bonded extended family to celebrate the greater IRONMAN community of athletes, volunteers, supporters and partners. For more information, visit www.ironman.com/worldchampionship.
About The IRONMAN Group
As part of Wanda Sports Group, The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf® presented by Westpac, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with more than 235 events across 55+ countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About Wanda Sports Group
Wanda Sports Group (Nasdaq: WSG) is a leading global sports events, media and marketing platform with a mission to unite people in sports and enable athletes and fans to live their passions and dreams. Through our businesses, including Infront and The IRONMAN Group, we have significant intellectual property rights, long-term relationships and broad execution capabilities, enabling us to deliver unrivalled sports event experiences, creating access to engaging content and building inclusive communities. We offer a comprehensive array of events, marketing and media services through three primary segments: Mass Participation, Spectator Sports and Digital, Production, Sports Solutions (DPSS). Our full-service platform creates value for our partners and clients as well as other stakeholders in the sports ecosystem, from rights owners, to brands and advertisers, and to fans and athletes. Headquartered in Beijing, China, Wanda Sports Group has more than 60 offices and 1,600 employees around the world.