More to follow I am sure.
There will be pundits in the triathlon world who will say after races sell out...see races didn't need pros after all. And, this may be true. But, the first year that you will be able to say this will be 2016, at best.
You can't definitively say what effect Mark, Dave, Paula, Erin, and a host of other pros have had on the sport that we know today as triathlon, or Ironman. Simply put though, without them the TV broadcast would be super boring and may not have even happened. It's safe to say that pros, whether you believe it or not, have helped the sport of triathlon grow. And, I firmly believe that.
So, before you all rush to say that in 2015 races still sold out...remember most of those races are already sold out, had a pro field in 2014, and the remainder of the races still have a pro field for 2014. It will be 2016 at the earliest when the effects, if any, will be seen. People have short and selective memories.
PS. Some say that tri entries are plateauing now.
PPS. This may be the writing on the wall. I'll be retired by the time they've finished writing.