Coping with Covid the Swiss way

By Amé Venter | 22 Dec, 2020

This week Europe Triathlon asked the Swiss National Federation how they coped with Covid. The purpose for sharing this information on our channels is to promote the positive initiatives taken during a challenging year and hopefully encouraging and inspiring fellow national federations with some new ideas. Read the Swiss way below.

“The past year has changed the whole calendar of national and international competitions. The impact on the athletes has been highlighted many times. But this crisis has highlighted the importance of competition in the lives of multi-sport athletes.

A football or ice hockey club can organise matches on its own. A triathlon club normally cannot. The organiser and its events are therefore really the heart that makes our sports beat.
This crisis therefore allows us to analyse the relationship between the clubs, the organisers and the federation. It highlights the strengths and weaknesses of this mode of operation. In addition, the expectations placed on the federations are rich and complex. The economic and societal constraints are constantly changing. The multiplicity of our disciplines continues to grow.
In order to be able to respond to all of them, in order to be able to face the future serenely, we must therefore be clear and precise.  We are the federation of all forms of multi-sport in Switzerland. The range of disciplines and activities that we support is vast and varied. The people who practise them come from all walks of life and have very specific expectations and ambitions. 
Our mission is therefore to offer every member of our community the possibility of having a product that meets their expectations. But this is done through the organisers. They take economic responsibility. Their event must be a popular and economic success.

So how can our federation support them? What should the contractual relationship be? What is the best business model? First of all, it must be taken into account that there is no form of obligation to belong to our federation to take part in a triathlon. The insurance system that some countries apply is regulated differently in Switzerland.
The Covid crises did drastically reduce the event activities on our side. We have therefore taken the opportunity to analyse the situation deeply. To simplify matters, we have identified three main players and their needs:

- The athlete wants quality competitions.
- The organiser wants a participation that covers its costs and is a success. They want as well clear attractive products
- The federation wants competitions that meet its expectations of quality and that in one way or another generate income.

In a first step, we inventoried the expectations of the athletes through the clubs and their representatives. We also consulted the organisers. Then the team responsible for the competitions made an analysis of the funding and the flow of money through the system. Who finances what? Who is willing to pay what? Is the international funding model still appropriate to a national federation?
The Swiss federation has so far applied the model of charging for series, national championships, referees and so on. Slowly its image has become that of a charging body. We have therefore studied the possibility of offering these services free of charge, but against what ? For our national federation, the strategic priority is to increase its popular base and its members in order to increase its revenues through partnerships and sponsorship. We are therefore ready to change this business model to a system where a much larger membership base finances the costs indirectly through the payment of a federation licence fee or to a system where global popular sponsors cover the costs of a beginner’s series.

On the other hand, the federation has also developed new products and easy multisport event formulas targeting the families and beginners in all their forms.
The new business model and the new products will progressively be launched from early next year!”

Does your national federation have a story to share regarding coping with Covid, feel free to share with us!