Coronavirus Impact on Races Week 8

Please see for recommendations and tools. We are also releasing this week as well.

Things continue to evolve as of April 11, 2020 from Week 7Week 6Week 5,  Week 4Week 3 and Week 2 of the Coronavirus. 

The transaction volume we saw the past week is 53% lower than the same week last year. The 53% is a pretty good improvement from the 65% the previous week and 76% the week before but still implies the endurance community and nonprofit community is having to survive on a far smaller amount of revenue.

We’ve included two charts showing the total $ amount of transactions flowing thru our system on a weekly basis both pre and post Coronavirus. The first is a simple %, and the second is the actual transactions per week on our platform. For example, this past week was $2,559,411 vs. $5,427,981 last year. Also, you can see we were having a great year (up 29%) before the virus, so this does not represent the community as a whole…

The other point is that of that lower volume, of the 20 top races over the past week:

  • 11 are virtual races
  • 7 are races scheduled for this spring that have converted to virtual – so those are new virtual race registrations or donations
  • 2 were for fall or 2021 races.

What this means is that the regular race registration revenue these race organizations are used to operating on has fallen probably 90% or more in many cases. We are seeing creative race directors start to leverage virtual races.

As an example, the top number of registrations last week (multiple thousands) were for a free virtual event – The Flipping 5K. Last year they had 310 people at their race. This year they had over 6,000 sign up, over 1,500 post their virtual results, and nearly 1,000 Instagram posts with #flippin5k tag. They even had Olympic gold medal gymnasts sign up, run a 5K and then do flips! They did not really do a great job of asking for money, but they still raised more money than they did the previous year’s registration fees.

Donations as a % of volume has increased from 8% to 15% of transaction volume (and up from 13% last week). This is a combination of lower registration volume, and some increased use by nonprofit customers of GiveSignup Donation Websites and Donation Forms as well as free virtual events.

As of April 11 2,709 races have used our postponement tool, up from 2,509 last week:

We also have stats on what participants have chosen. Virtual seems to be the most popular choice that races are offering, and participants are selecting:

We continue to see about a 10-15X increase in Chargeback volume, with a slight uptick this week from last week. In spite of this, we made a major decision to lower of reserve requirements from 20% for races to 10% and our payment account requirements to 5% of registration fees (no holdbacks on donations).

Inside RunSignup’s Past 6 Weeks

We published a blog yesterday about all of our own internal struggles to deal with the crisis. We had fears for our customers whom we had paid over $75 Million for future races not being able to meet their obligations to their customers (hence our concerns about chargebacks, had our own concerns about financial liability we might have for customers who went bankrupt, cut all of our employees compensation by 50% on March 13, investigated multiple financing alternatives, and worked double time to try to provide our customers with solutions. We did get relief on Friday with the approval of our PPP loan, which we will use to return our employees to 100% compensation for the next 8 weeks and then they will return back down to the level of business we are at then. We did reach a milestone this week in terms of our reduced expenses (total cut about 60%) almost meeting our gross profit – i.e. breakeven. We have a long way to go, but we feel like we are getting out of the woods.

The Next Phase

We are moving into a new phase in our country. The first was denial that COVID-19 posed a threat to the United States. The second was acceptance of the situation and an accompanying feeling of helplessness. We are now starting to move into a third phase. The topic of when and how things open up again is becoming the dominant topic rather than death rate and overwhelmed hospitals.

Each local community has a desire to reopen and find their own new normal in safe ways. If the endurance industry can develop sound practices based on local health guidelines, we have a chance to be one of the first ways that communities can regather – at safe social distances.

The endurance community is made up of tens of thousands of micro communities – races, clubs, stores, timers, nonprofits, race organizations, sponsors, volunteers and more. This diversity brings strength to our community because passion drives much of the efforts to put on races. These communities are spread across this huge country and have access to amazing resources.

The diversity will result in creative ideas. Our industry’s sense of community will help spread ideas that make sense and work. Just as races have rapidly adapted to virtual events over the past weeks, races will learn how to put on safe events and allow the micro communities putting on those races to regain momentum.

This week we will publish a document “Looking Forward: Guidelines for Races” that we have been working on for the past couple of weeks with many industry experts and communities. This will be a living document that we will use as a basis for a new website we will work on next as we collect input and evolve this set of ideas into useful practices for races of all sizes.

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