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  • Gary Roethenbaugh

TBI releases summary results of its 2018 TBI Business Confidence Survey

Triathlon Business International (TBI), the industry organization dedicated to promoting the sport and the business of triathlon, has today announced the results of its fourth Industry Confidence Survey.

Conducted by MultiSport Research, there are nine main data points that form the basis of the TBI US Industry Confidence Index. These are: customer demand; staffing levels; annual profits; competition; business conditions; prices; household finances; U.S. economic conditions; and the sport of triathlon.

Three of these categories are positive for 2018: (1) business conditions, (2) staffing and (3) household finances.

“While a cautionary wind still appears to be blowing through the industry, there is a sense of a shift towards the positive, particularly where industry respondents give their views about the 12 months ahead,” said Gary Roethenbaugh, Managing Director, MultiSport Research. “It is these index data points that are generally more optimistic – an encouraging sign given the subdued mood 12 months ago.”

This subtle shift toward the positive was seen at the recent annual TBI Conference where there was an increase of attendees across all multisport businesses and an increased sense of optimism and energy was felt. The launch of USA Triathlon and IRONMAN’s #TimeToTri initiative at the conference appears to be perfect timing to take advantage of increasing optimism.

Supporting the initiative and pushing the optimism, conference attendees were making personal commitments to help grow the sport during Saturday’s graphically-recorded strategy session ‘Growing Our Sport’.

“The results of this year’s survey are in line with other indicators,” said Dan Empfield, President of TBI and publisher of “The turnaround in triathlon’s fortunes in North America will be uneven, but we appear to be at an inflection point, and 2018 is likely to be an up year, just, it won’t yet feel like that for everyone.”

A few of the out-takes of the TBI Business Confidence Study include:

  • Moving up from being the third ranked area in the 2017 TBI Industry Confidence Index, the outlook on staffing is now the second most positive index data point in 2018. Building on a 2017 index position, where staffing registered a slightly negative 99.1 score, the 2018 outlook for staffing over the next 6 months scores +102.1 when viewed against the baseline year of 2015.

  • The sentiment on business conditions was firmly in the bottom half of the ranked industry confidence index this time last year. Into 2018, however, there is a notable pick up in mood about expected business conditions over the next 12 months: 32% state that they expect conditions will be better (vs 23% in 2017).

  • The view on current levels of customer demand is more subdued in 2018. This index data point has dropped from being the most positive area in the 2016 TBI Industry Confidence Survey to currently standing at a negative 96.3 index score, down 3.7 points on the baseline year of 2015.

The inaugural TBI Confidence Survey was implemented in January 2015 and provided a baseline for the data gathered in January 2016 and 2017, and now in 2018. The latest, fourth TBI Confidence Survey closed on February 9th, 2018; and generated a record total of 260 survey responses.

Participants in the survey include a cross-section of the sport, including retailers, manufacturers, event producers, service providers and coaches. All survey respondents receive a summary report of the findings; and TBI members receive the full industry confidence report including the data sets, commentary and analysis. Non-members can purchase the full report for US$100.

Survey participants responded to 14 online questions that encompassed their impression of: customer demand; staffing levels; personal/household finances; product/service pricing; profits; growth/business of the sport; business competition; and US economic conditions. Survey responses were aggregated to create a picture of the 2018 multisport business landscape and then compared to the 2015, 2016 and 2017 data collected for the same questions.

Triathlon Business International is dedicated to promoting the sport and business of triathlon. Founded by a coalition of industry leaders, TBI’s mission is to leverage the knowledge, talent, and resources of the leaders in triathlon to the benefit of the sport by increasing and retaining advocates of triathlon and fostering a positive image of the sport. The 2019 TBI annual conference will take place on January 25-27, 2019 at the Mission Palms Resort in Tempe, AZ. To become a member of TBI and receive the 2018 Business Confidence Study, interested parties can visit TBI’s website.

Founded in 2010, MultiSport Research is a specialist research and consulting firm to the international endurance sport industry. The company was born out of a personal passion for multisport. Immersed in the world of endurance sport, MultiSport Research is committed to delivering the most robust insights on all category trends. The company offers a wide range of services – from consumer and market research through to economic impact studies, product and consumer segmentation, pricing analyses, commercial due diligence, branding and strategy.

MultiSport Research also produces, the dedicated news and information site for the international triathlon & endurance sport industry.

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