Ironman Alaska has canceled plans to hold events in Juneau in 2023 and 2024.
Liz Perry, president and CEO of Travel Juneau, said the Ironman Alaska triathlon organizer called her to say that the decision arose from economic concerns like inflation and the potential for a recession.
“We have not burned any bridges with them,” Perry said. “They are ever so grateful to the community of Juneau for everything that we did for them, and they want to keep that door open for the possibility of a future event.”
This summer’s Ironman event was the first of its kind in Juneau, according to Perry. About 850 athletes from around the country arrived and competed in driving rain.
While that was fewer than the original estimate, the event did end up bringing in an estimated $8 million to the local economy between the hotels, food and other things paid for by visitors who came to town for the event.
Perry said she’s disappointed about the decision, but the possibility remains for Ironman to return in the future once the economy improves. The fact that Juneau proved it can host an event of this scale also means there’s potential for similar events.
“It kind of opens the door for us to keep an eye out for, you know, similar events. And whether they are athletic events or other kinds of events that the town has the capacity to put on,” she said.
Travel Juneau paid $50,000 for licensing for this year’s event. Perry said they had a contract with Ironman for the 2023 and 2024 races but had not made any payments yet.