Malibu City Council has awarded a race permit and contract to the Zuma Foundation – with a new event, the Zuma Beach Triathlon, replacing the Malibu Triathlon and scheduled for September 14-15, 2024.
The Zuma Foundation is headed up by Michael Epstein, the former race director of the Malibu Triathlon who had previously sold the event to Motiv Sports. The event was then acquired by Super League Triathlon in late 2020 to become Super League Triathlon Malibu.
The Super League Triathlon Malibu event ran on a mid-September weekend from 2021-23 as part of the Super League Triathlon Championship Series. As well as an online televised head-to-head for pro triathletes, the Malibu event also featured age group racing.
During a series of city council meetings in recent months, Super League went head-to-head with Epstein over the awarding of a race permit for 2024.
Having acquired the Malibu Triathlon, Super League owns the rights to the event brand. Yet, without a race permit from the city council, the Malibu Triathlon event appears to have ceased – at least for now, with the new Zuma Beach Triathlon awarded the permit this year.
Super League has pointed out that there may still be a non-compete argument to be put forward as well as potential intellectual property concerns around the race course design. However, the ruling from Malibu City Council is a reminder for event organisers that securing a race permit is essential in any merger or acquisition scenario.