Coronavirus Impact on Races Week 9

Please see and for recommendations and tools. We also released Looking Forward: Guidelines for Races this week as well.

Things continue to evolve as of April 11, 2020 from Week 8Week 7Week 6Week 5,  Week 4Week 3 and Week 2 of the Coronavirus. 

The transaction volume we saw the past week is 44% lower than the same week last year. The 44% is a pretty good improvement from the 53% the previous week and 65% 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 $2,849,945 vs. $5,132,785 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:

  • 18 are virtual races, up from 11 last week
  • 2 are races scheduled for this spring that have converted to virtual – so those are new virtual race registrations or donations
  • 0 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. Virtual is the new real…

We did a webinar on Friday about how nonprofits can leverage virtual events with many good ideas, as well as a demonstration of how to set thing sup in detail. Donations as a % of volume has increased from 13% last year to 16% of transaction volume (and up from 15% 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 25, 2,849 races have used our postponement tool, up from 2,809 last week. This tool is being used less as races have more time and are doing more major shifts of their strategies:

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. Again, this tool was most useful several weeks ago and we are likely to stop reporting on it because the data is becoming a bit stale:

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 2 weeks ago from 20% for races to 10% and our payment account requirements to 5% of registration fees (no holdbacks on donations).

Inside RunSignup’s Past 7 Weeks

We published a blog last week 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 published Looking Forward: A Guideline for Races this past week thanks to the help of dozens of race directors, timers, industry groups and others. It has been written about in Runners World’s excellent article “When Might Racing Return, And What Will It Look Like?“, as well as the NYTimes “The Fall Race Outlook“.

It was the week that the Berlin Marathon was officially cancelled. We published a blog just talking about the starting line bottleneck, suggesting between 200-1,000 people per hour were possible depending on the width of the starting area. It also covered other logistical issues like ready areas. On the RunningUSA conference call this week, the timing was just after the Berlin Marathon had been cancelled and there was a growing understanding of the difficulty of returning to normal, and that it was going to be an entirely new normal. And that large fall races were going to have a very difficult time.

We are suggesting that races this year might want to consider going forward with a Virtual Race as a first option, and when things become clearer, then add a real race. This will set expectations properly, and your organization might be able to raise enough money and save enough on costs to make it worthwhile.

Another option is to have both a real race and a virtual race, with a small price difference between them. Add a question that requires acknowledgement that if they sign up for the real race, and it is unable to be held they will be refunded the difference and put into the virtual race.

Take a look at our Virtual Race Hub for ideas and how to make the move.

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