We usually do a Race Registration Market Analysis twice a year – March and September. 2020 was an unusual year, but we did a special one in April, 2020 and September, 2020 to try to capture what was happening in the endurance market. We will share our data and then share observations from the market in general and specific market events.
At the time of this writing, tomorrow is the first day of Spring. And that sign of hope reflects the general mood of the endurance community. Lyft posted the first day of YOY growth this week. We reported the first week of YOY growth from 2019. And we reported the emergence of live races in over 40 states.
Our business at GiveSignup | RunSignup is looking very healthy now – with more new and renewed events going live every week. It is very hard to measure, but it seems we have picked up market share. We had over 4,000 new payment accounts have transactions in 2020 as we attracted both endurance and nonprofit customers seeking a better and more cost effective platform for their virtual events. We are seeing a number of our old customers coming back, and new customers expanding the use of our platform from just a 5K to their nonprofit’s ticket events, as well as donations. So the numbers we share below are probably not indicative of the entire vendor community, but should show trends to event organizers.
These are the total transactions per week on our platform. The big dip in November was the fact that we had 530,000 people signup for Turkey Trots in 2019 and only 156,000 in 2020. The recent trend has been very positive as the vaccine gets wider distribution. As of this writing, over 25% of Americans have at least one shot and more and more states are reopening.
Trend back to Live Events, But Virtual and Challenge are Here to Stay
The number of registrations for live events continues to climb – so far in March live event registrations are 60% of the total. We are seeing many customers go with a Hybrid strategy that helps them hedge against further restrictions when their event happens, as well as open it up to participants who might not yet feel comfortable.
Shift to the Fall and Live Events
We are seeing near term events go hybrid, and fall registration opening for an increasing number of events. Many large events have shifted their event to the fall, like the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia and the Boston Marathon. But you can see that participants are still cautious about signing up too far in advance.
New and Renewed Races
This is a very encouraging leading indicator. Since last summer, our new race count per week has consistently been ahead of 2019. It had fallen to roughly even during December and into early February. New races (nearing 500 per week) are significantly ahead of 2019 now, representing our continued gain in market share both in endurance and with the new entry of nonprofit customers.
Renewed races is the big positive news. For the first time in a year, they are ahead of 2019. This means event organizers are feeling comfortable about opening their events finally. Last year we had about 35% of events from 2019 that did not open at all.
The bright pink line above shows the number of new races we get above the previous year. The light purple line is the churn of races over 500 participants not happening. Traditionally this was about 5%, but has spiked up to around 30-35% over the past year. Hopefully this begins to decline (although it will be difficult to do this report). The lowest gray line is competitor churn. This has typically hovered around 2-3% and has stayed somewhat steady during the pandemic. Most of that churn is actually to vendors like Enmotive who merged with Rugged Maniac races and moved those races off of RunSignup. The second most is to RaceRoster, where a total of 28 races have moved to since 2017.
We do not specifically track how many customers move to us from each vendor, although from the bright pink line, it is obvious we are picking up market share.
We did not do a Top 100 Race report this past year for obvious reasons, but it seems that we have continued to pick up market share with large races with around 22-25 on our open platform with more evaluating moving to us.
We started keeping track of Alexa rankings to track relative web traffic many years ago across the various vendors and popular websites (you can do this yourself – here is the RunSignup sample). All vendors are down from the spring of 2019. Most vendors are up from the spring of 2020. As a relative benchmark, our past month of traffic was 19,178,475 page views compared with 16,208,016 in 2020 and 14,876,600 in 2019 (yes, web traffic continues to climb). Note also that the web traffic drops by a greater percentage than the rank. For example, a ranking of 20,000 might have 10-15% of the traffic that our ranking of 5,000 has. Likewise, Eventbrite ranking of 197 probably has 50 times the web traffic that our rank of 5,000 has.
Notable line items:
- BikeReg has had a big move. We checked with them, and this is purely the comeback of their cycling customers and not from the benefit of any synergy they have implemented yet in their recent acquisition by Pocket Outdoor Media (covered more below).
- RunningintheUSA.com is the leading race calendar, and it is great to see them so far up as it means runners are looking for races again.
- Looking at the change from Spring 2019, it seems Race Roster is having a slower comeback than BikeReg certainly, and RunSignup.
- GetMeRegistered dropped off the report since they no longer have enough traffic to be recorded. That is quite a drop since March, 2019 when they had a rank of 43,000. RaceWire, the company they merged with similarly fell off the measurement scale in 2020, and they had been 63,000 in March, 2019.
- The September report should be interesting to show more accurately which vendors have really gained and lost market share during the pandemic.
Some comments on the above data combined with general market awareness on some of the above vendors.
GiveSignup | RunSignup – As seen on some of our numbers above, we are recovering well. We also have gained traction with our focus on nonprofits with GiveSignup. To take advantage of the opportunity and ensure we do not take resources away from our endurance efforts, we took a small round of $3 Million of capital into the company. We detailed our 2020 Year in Review, as well as our 2020 Development accomplishments and our 2021 Development Roadmap.
The one area we did not note above is the tremendous momentum we have with timers. Our RaceDay Scoring is the only scoring software in the market receiving considerable investment, and is gaining market share. We expect it to have probably 50% market share by 2022, which will bring great benefits to timers, event organizations and participants. In addition, the pandemic highlighted the features of our RaceJoy GPS tracking application. We see more and more timers offer RaceJoy as part of their standard set of services. The market is understanding the value of having both chip and GPS tracking and timing. Also, our RaceDay offerings got new versions of our free Photo platform, we also introduced a new version of our Corral assignment tools to enable events to handle social distancing requirements better. And our new CheckIn app will be available by early April.
We are having success and picking up market share because of the progress we have made with virtual, challenge and RaceDay technology.
BikeReg – (Well, actually AthleteReg) – BikeReg was acquired by Pocket Outdoor Media in a very large media deal that some are calling Competitor Group 2.0. Pocket Outdoor Media also purchased Outside magazine, Outside TV, Gaia GPS, Peloton magazine to join about 30 other active living brands. They are rebranding the whole company “Outside”. Mike Mortiz of Sequoia Capital fame led the financing of $150 Million at an unreported valuation. In talking with the BikeReg CEO, Ross Krause, they will keep doing what they are doing and over time take advantage of synergies with the media side of the business. He said they do not expect to get into the event side of the business at least in the near term like Competitor Group did.
Our perspective is that we wish them well. We have always had high respect for their great cycling results platform, as well as their business acumen in an exclusive deal with USA Cycling. As we have expressed – as Race Roster, Enmotive, RaceIt, GetMe Registered, RaceWire, IMAthlete, SignMeUp, ZapEvent and others have been acquired by larger entities there can be distractions. This is especially true when the main business is not technology and building software. If the core software platform is not constantly improving and providing customers more value, then there can be tough times.
Eventbrite – We have been following Eventbrite closely and recently did a write-up of the Q4/Annual 2020 report. We certainly had a better year than them with the easier pivot to virtual for endurance customers and nonprofits. Our registration volume was down 22% overall and their ticket volume was down 57%. They had to lay off 45% of their employees (we were actually able to grow our team). What is encouraging is that their stock has recovered from a low of less than $6 a share to about $24 a share as this is written. Investors are betting on a robust recovery in live events, which bodes well for all of us.
RaceRoster – Their Alexa numbers mirror some of what we have been seeing anecdotally. They have not been as active as they have been in the past. Some of their long time employees have left, like Lenny Kwan who championed Salesforce as their key strategy around CRM. They seem to have backed off of that, realizing that small organizations have a difficult time implementing a large system like Salesforce that is more attuned to enterprise types of problems than having 5,000 people show up at your race. Likewise, their investment in RunScore for timers does not seem to bring much innovation to the endurance community. It is nice it is still being maintained, but we see a number of RunScore timers beginning to migrate to RaceDay Scoring for ease of use and modern functionality. They also seem to be spending time and energy promoting Asics and RunKeeper, while their product development has not kept pace. Finally, it seems they may be redirecting efforts Internationally rather than in our core market of the US. In any event, we are not seeing them as much in our customers engagements, and have picked up some of their former customers.
Haku – Haku has continued to focus on their custom solutions for large customers. Most of their customers have had a difficult year, but Haku seems to have come out with some nice press releases about how they helped their customers with virtual capabilities. Over the past year they have picked up Boston, St. George and Atlanta Track Club – so they should do well as large events return.
Active – Active is still used by Ironman, Rock & Roll and Tough Mudder. However, we see many of their mid size and smaller customers moving. A number of former Active customers moved to GiveSignup | RunSignup this past year in search of virtual and challenge options. In addition, there are several customers waiting until their lock-in contract with Active expires to move to our platform.
GetMeRegistered / RaceWire – As discussed in the Alexa web traffic rankings, these companies have fallen off the radar. A number of their large and mid sized customers have moved to our platform over the past year. Many of their key people have left, and their corporate parent Stack Sports attention seems to be on other markets like youth sports where they are being much more successful.
UltraSignup Acquired – A small consulting company, Atiba, in Nashville has acquired UltraSignup. Creator and long time owner, Mark Gilligan is turning the reins over to a new group and it will be interesting to see how things change.
The next year should be very interesting. We know that there are a number of weaker vendors as we all emerge from the pandemic. The focus on bringing great technology solutions and continual innovation will be key as the old model of relationship selling and exclusive contracts is coming to an end.