MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis has been named a finalist as a potential host for a new IRONMAN triathlon in 2020.
Other finalists include Des Moines, Iowa; Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The new event, expected to take place in late-Spring/early-Summer of 2020, will be the first brand-new full-distance IRONMAN triathlon introduced in the United States since 2014, expanding the series in the central United States.
"The Memphis Sports Council is thrilled our destination is among the finalists to host IRONMAN in 2020,” said Malvin Gipson, Executive Director of the Memphis Sports Council, a division of Memphis Tourism. “Memphis is not only the home of blues, soul and rock 'n' roll, it is also home to a variety of outdoor assets that combine with our world class leisure visitor offerings to create the ideal fit for participants and their traveling cheer sections. The affordability of the destination along with our geographic location make Memphis an ideal fit for the future IRONMAN event."
IRONMAN officials will be visiting Memphis and other finalist cities in the coming weeks as the selection process continues.
The decision of determining the next host city for the new IRONMAN event in 2020 is expected by mid-June.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to bring an IRONMAN event to the Central United States,” said Shane Facteau, Chief Operating Officer for IRONMAN. “We have been looking into this particular area of the country for a while now and felt the time is right to add a brand-new full-distance IRONMAN triathlon to the U.S Series. First-class cities from around the region shared their interest with us and we are pleased to move forward with Des Moines, Fayetteville, Memphis, and Tulsa on the next stage of this process. All four of these cities present great opportunities to put on a world-class IRONMAN triathlon through their unique landscapes, culture, history and hospitality, that our athletes and their families and friends would surely appreciate.”
Sitting atop bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, Memphis offers a unique landscape to serve as host for a world class sporting event such as IRONMAN in 2020.
Memphis has received numerous accolades that include being listed by global travel authority Frommer’s as one of their “Best Places to Go in 2019,” noted as one of the “Best Bike Cities in America” by Bicycling.com, and celebrated by Travel + Leisure as one of “America’s Friendliest Cities.”
“Memphis is a world-class sports destination that is complemented by the amazing food and music our city is known for around the world,” said Kevin Kane, President & CEO of Memphis Tourism. “We are a city that continues to grow as a major player on the global sports stage after being selected as one of four host cities in the world for the prestigious World Golf Championships starting in 2019 with the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational. IRONMAN would complement our variety of year-round athletic events that draw thousands to our city annually such as the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, St. Jude Memphis Marathon and Southern Heritage Classic. Memphis truly is a must-see sports destination.”