PTO ‘advises’ professional athletes not to criticize ranking system

Since the first days that the PTO was active as a new triathlon organization, there was – not least by professional athletes themselves – criticism of the way the PTO rankings are determined and thus the prize money distributed. The PTO is not very happy about this and therefore now “advises” athletes not to criticize the rankings. “As an organization we would never inhibit any athlete from giving public comment or criticism. However, it is our duty to all PTO Professionals to advise that ongoing public criticism of the system causes damage to our ability to monetise the rankings through sponsorships and other means”, is written in a personal email to hundreds of athletes.

The same email – addressed to professional athletes – looks at the prize money paid out in 2021, the rankings, the success of the Collins Cup and other topics that are important to athletes. The email concludes with the warning that criticism from athletes may well lead to less sponsorship and therefore prize money. “Chris Kermode, our Vice Chairman and former CEO of the ATP, noted that when they were looking for a sponsor of the ATP Finals, the largest tennis event the ATP owns, potential sponsors did a social media sweep, and the feedback was that tennis professionals either never said anything positive about the event or were a bit dismissive of it. As a result, sponsor activation was significantly diminished.”

The PTO does conclude their mail by saying that triathletes are not forbidden to do anything, but that it is only an advice not to share negative comments.