This time last year Mana Sports and Entertainment Group captivated the triathlon and endurance world as four athletes undertook the audacious attempt to Defy The Impossible.
Mana Group was retained by the Pho3nix Foundation to deliver end-to-end operations and logistics and began work two years prior to the June 5, 2022 attempt, spearheading public relations, marketing, event and broadcast to bring the Sub7 and Sub8 Project to life.
The Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Project, Powered by Zwift raced across the full distance of triathlon saw Olympic and world champion Kristian Blummenfelt finish the 3.8-kilometre swim, 180-kilometre bike, and 42-kilometre run under 7 hours in an astounding 6:44:25, while European champion Joe Skipper stopped the clock only three minutes later in 6:47:36. Vice world champion Kat Matthews raced at full tilt to finish under 8 hours in 7:31:54, just ahead of Olympic gold and silver medalist Nicola Spirig at 7:34:19.
The sporting exhibition put on by the four athletes and their pacemakers in front of more than half a million live viewers vastly exceeded expectations and blew both time barriers away, along the way recording the fastest bike and run splits in triathlon history and setting a new standard in human physical endurance.
This remarkable feat grew from a single idea: a one-on-one match race against an unprecedented time barrier to achieve an impossible goal and inspire generations.
Behind the Scenes at Pho3nix Sub7 & Sub8 with Mana Group
The Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Project was about four athletes chasing two impossible marks. The supporting cast, though, was much bigger.
A feat as yet unmatched in its execution as well as its delivery to a global audience, the Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Project was demanding of its athletes as well as the hundreds of staff and crew working behind the scenes to produce the extraordinary level of logistics management, operations, content production, programming, public engagement and exposure for the sponsors, sport and host destination.
Beginning work two years prior to the June 2022 attempt and under the guidance of co-founder and strategic lead Chris McCormack, Mana Group recruited the four key athletes most likely to achieve the times. These four then built their pacemaker and support teams.
Mana Group’s 360 Sports and Entertainment arm then set about defining the race rules to balance racing legitimacy with the aim of unprecedented pace, adopting key principles from each individual sport.
Right Place, Right Time
A months-long global search revealed precious few locations that came close to providing the optimal mix of factors capable of delivering the times. Germany’s Dekra Lausitzring came closest to that perfect blend of water temperature, wind speed and direction, altitude, topography, road surface, and time zones that would best allow the athletes to deliver on race day.
Leading the Conversation
Mana Group brought on one of the world’s leading global communications companies, Hill and Knowlton, and charged them to take the Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Project from just another triathlon event to a unique moment in the broader sporting consciousness. More than 1,000 articles were published across 52 markets; notably the largest percentage (23%) came from the US market even without the event starring a single US athlete, demonstrating Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Project’s global appeal.
Mana Group’s dedicated social media team also supported the broadcast and pre- and post- event marketing, churning out shoulder content and driving engagement 600% above baseline to bring greater reach to Pho3nix Foundation’s channels and its goals to motivate children to chase their potential.
Live Broadcast and Highlights
Mana Studios partnered with global broadcast leaders Gravity Media, who brought the expertise of their work with F1, Netflix, the ATP Tour, the UEFA Champions League and others to triathlon for the first time.
- 60 crew members from London, Sydney, Berlin and Paris
- 20 cameras including 5 motorbikes, drones, helicopter, and in-car
- 5 full edit suites
- 90 pre-recorded pieces
- 9 hours of live broadcast, delivered by 30 staff in Australia
Mana Studios and Gravity Media then delivered a full 54-minute documentary distributed to 50 networks worldwide, reaching half a billion people. Amazon Prime Video has secured the rights to stream on demand in the US and the United Kingdom.
The footprint of the Pho3nix Foundation has grown since the Sub7 and Sub8 Project, expanding into ever more regions with its portfolio of programs designed to usher children along pathways of pursuing sport. As its operational partner, Mana Group working hand-in-hand with Pho3nix has also grown alongside it with multiple global offices, an expansion of its highly experienced team, and even more exciting client projects in the pipeline.