By James Crook

Alistair Brownlee wins San Diego 2013June 20 - The International Triathlon Union (ITU) have announced record broadcasting figures for the first quarter of the 2013 World Triathlon Series, and President Marisol Casado believes that this year will see the sharpest rise in the media value of the sport.

"The increase in television exposure so early in the season is fantastic," said Casado, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"What's more is that the numbers only reflect the first two races of the season, and we have exciting, innovative courses planned in the second half of the year that will undoubtedly attract an even bigger audience."

An independent analysis by Repucom showed that television contacts, which links broadcasting time and audience rating per programme on presumed 30 seconds-intervals, along with audience and broadcast time, doubled over the Auckland and San Diego races.

Television contacts reached more than one billion for the Auckland event, which is double the figure of the 2012 Grand Final in Auckland and six times more popular than last year's event in Sydney.

In 2012, San Diego acquired 227 million television contacts and an audience of 6.56 million, but this years event pulled in 485 million television contacts, attracting nearly three times as many viewers, with 15.11 million people tuning in to see Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee (pictured top) of Britain and home favourite Gwen Jorgensen take the men's and women's titles respectively.

Last year, the World Triathlon Series reached over 5.43 billion television contacts and 1045 hours of broadcast time, and at the current rate of growth, television figures are expected to see a six fold increase from the inaugural year of the Series in 2009.

142861320America's Gwen Jorgensen took the ITU World Series title on home soil in San Diego in front of a bumper  television audience

Casado also spoke of the ambition to bring the mixed relay event into the Olympic Games for 2016 to make the sport even more exciting for fans and capitalise on the growing popularity of the Series and the sport. 

"Shorter distances are also attractive for television," she said.

"At ITU, we are very conscious about this evolution and have included sprint distances at various races, as well as revolutionary courses such as the World Triathlon Kitzbühel, a unique mountain stage.

"Mixed Relay also makes for very exciting television, as the race produces constant unpredictable lead changes.

"We know it would add value to the Olympic broadcast schedule, which is just one of the reasons why we are campaigning to include it into the 2016 Olympic programme.

"I anticipate our largest increase in triathlon's media value is yet to come this year.

"We still have four more WTS races this year, which includes a sprint course, mixed relay, the world's toughest triathlon course and the Grand Final returning to the iconic Olympic venue in Hyde Park.

"With all of that in store, the outlook for overall television growth is very positive."

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