When we announced the RaceDay Go Platform, we talked about our desire to build out the RaceDay Scoring component for timers. As we embark on the considerable development effort (multi-person project that will continue forever), it is a fair question to ask ourselves and for the market to ask us: WHY????
Current State of the Market
There are two dominant scoring offerings today – The Race Director and RunScore. The Race Director scores about 11 Million finishers each year and RunScore probably does a similar amount. Both are PC based products originally released over 20 years ago, with very low cost to timers (typically less than $300 per year). They both have exceptional levels of functionality, with The Race Director being more menu driven with pre-canned mechanisms to score a race, and RunScore being more open to field definitions and customized scored capabilities with a powerful scripting like language.
One of the challenges of entering the market for new competitors has been the low cost of these very functional products. Most timers will not pay a lot for an alternative, especially given that these products meet their needs very well.
There have been two independent vendors who have developed scoring/results based systems and have business models aimed at the high end of the market for large races or large timers – Xact and RTRT. Software development and support is obviously expensive, so they have to earn a return by targeting the high end where there is enough money to support their business models. RaceTec in Australia has also made a high end system.
The other business model that has supported the development of scoring platforms is the timing equipment makers. ChronoTrack with their CT Live offering is probably the most successful scoring about 4 Million finishers last year. Active-Ipico, MyLaps, and Agee Timing also have alternatives. These scoring systems are all tied to their hardware and other software products to optimize both the integration as well as the revenue coming from their customer base. The scoring component is typically free or very low cost (under $1,000).
Problems with Current Market
There are several problems with the current offerings in the market. The Race Director and RunScore were both built many years ago. While both have been kept up to date and have many happy users, there is a new generation of technology that can be built upon to offer new levels of capabilities. For the high end scoring vendors, they do not meet the needs of the many, many smaller races. And the proprietary systems have the issue that they are closed and may not have the functionality or openness to solve specific needs.
Why RunSignup is creating RaceDay Scoring
There are a number of reasons why we are building this platform:
- The Race Director is a part of RunSignUp and we need a way to support these customers in the long term.
- We do not want to lose current The Race Director customers to alternatives in the market that are more modern.
- We have a registration business that gets “dragged along” with some % of users of scoring. This means there is a financial incentive for us to build the scoring system, even if we lose money on directly building and supporting the software (much like the hardware vendor’s motivation).
- We want to meet the needs across every segment of the market – small to large races, all timing equipment (including hand-timed), and all modes of timing – Chip, Gun and GPS.
- As technologists, this is a very interesting problem domain that is fun to build. As runners, we like to build good technology for this market.
In Search of Goldilocks
We feel there is a chance at finding the right “Goldilocks” solution. Not to hard, not too simple, not too proprietary, not expandable enough.
If we are able to build this “just right”, then we will hit a very sweet spot in the market that will offer all timers a new option for their scoring needs.