noun - WTC or the World Triathlon Corporation is a for-profit corporation, owned by Providence Equity Partners, that organizes, promotes and licenses the Ironman Triathlon, Ironman 70.3, and the 5150 series of triathlon races. WTC is also the owner of numerous Ironman-related trademarks used both in connection with Ironman race series' and in conjunction with various goods and services.
In 1990, with the help of Lew Friedland, Dr. James P. Gills acquired and purchased the Hawaii Triathlon Corporation, owner of the Ironman Brand, for $3 million from Valerie Silk. With the Ironman brand, Gills established the World Triathlon Corporation with the intention of furthering the sport of triathlon and increasing prize money for triathletes. Ben Fertic, formerly Vice President of Information Systems, joined WTC in 2000 and was involved in the business operations and day-to-day decision making for WTC. Fertic became CEO of WTC in 2004.
During Fertic's tenure as VP, he was instrumental in creating Ironman Live, the online presence of the Ironman Triathlon, and transforming WTC into an event production company. In 2007, WTC undertook expansion in producing Ironman events internally, with the inaugural Ford Ironman Louisville. This followed the launch of Ironman 70.3 events in Boise, Idaho and Providence, Rhode Island.
In 2008, World Triathlon Corporation was purchased by Providence Equity Securities for an undisclosed sum. Providence Equity is a private equity firm, of whom one board member is an Ironman athlete. CEO Ben Fertic remained at the helm of the business. The following year, in early in 2009, WTC announced the acquisition of Ironman events based in the United States, from North American Sports, a company founded by Canadian Graham Fraser. Employees from North American Sports were expected to remain and manage these events, with the existing office in Boulder, Colorado now under the ownership of WTC.
On 31 May 2011, WTC announced that Andrew Messick, who was previously the president AEG, would become CEO of the World Triathlon Corporation. Fertic would continue in his role in serving on the Board of Directors as well as serving in a newly created president position. Messick, who is an Ironman triathlon finisher himself, helped build and direct, among other things, the Tour of California cycling event.
In March 2010, World Triathlon Corporation announced the start of a triathlon publication called LAVA magazine. At its conception, the magazine was published by John Duke, former publisher of Triathlete Magazine and then Vice President of Global Sales and Media for WTC. LAVA built its initial subscription base from United States athletes who had entered in an Ironman branded event in 2010. The magazine produces 9 issues per year. The Lava name is in reference to the Hawaiian Island that the Ironman Championship is held on each year.
In 2011, the magazine received a Maggie Award from the Western Publishing Association for Best Single Editorial Photograph in a Consumer Magazine. The photograph was of Craig Alexander in LAVA’s inaugural issue. The magazine was started under former World Triathlon Corporation CEO Ben Fertic. Under CEO Andrew Messick, WTC sought to focus solely on the Ironman brand of races and move away from publishing. In May 2012, WTC sold LAVA to a group of investors that included LAVA publisher John Duke, Active.com's CEO Dave Alberga and president Matt Landa, as well as former hedge fund manager Matthew Michelsen. Additionally, as part of the sale, Heather Gordon became the new publisher. The sale also coincided with the end of a two-year ban that prevented LAVA from being sold on the newsstand for two years. That ban was the result of a dispute and settlement between Duke's previous employer Triathlete Magazine, its parent Competitor Group, Inc., and WTC. After the sale LAVA will receive a preferred relationship with WTC as the official publication of Ironman, which will grant the magazine unique access to Ironman consumers.
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