We have been doing the race registration market analysis every 6 months for many years. Last September we stated things were returning to normal, only to be interrupted by the Omicron wave which impacted numbers in December thru March. We will dive in more below.
Update Note: We announced the acquisition of the Lightbox Registration platform after this report was done. It is a small registration provider in New England that was started by Steve Delahunty, who will integrate his iResults system and other race technology into the RunSignup platform. Colin Peddie, the founder of the famous Marathon Sports running stores in New England, was the owner of the technology and partnered with Steve for a number of years. All Lightbox race and timing customers are transitioning over to the RunSignup platform and the Lightbox platform will phase out in 2022.
Another Update Note: Jeff Matlow, the founder of IMAthlete announced the finalization of the IMAthlete sale to Gannett in early April 2022. He is now looking for his next opportunity.
These two updates within 2 weeks of the publishing of this report indicate the continued consolidation of the market. We have now done 5 acquisitions of technology or registration platforms since 2015 and continue to look for opportunities to help customers and companies smoothly transition forward.
Before we get into this report, we highly recommend taking a look at our Trends Report, which is 100 pages of detailed stats based on all of the race data from 2021.
Here are the old Market Analysis reports:
- September 2015
- March, 2016
- September, 2016
- March, 2017
- September, 2017
- March, 2018
- September, 2018
- March, 2019
- September, 2019
- April, 2020
- September, 2020
- March, 2021
- September, 2021
Fewer Races, Delayed Signups
One of the most valuable data sources for this report is RunningintheUSA.com race calendar. Bill and Mary Flaws do a tremendous job of curating this calendar of events, and have been publishing it for many years. Their data is especially useful now as they show how many races are planned this year better than any other data source, and it is comparable to previous years. They show a drop of 22% from March of 2019:
We have collected numbers on races with greater than and less than 500 registrations during January 1 – March 22, 2022 on our platform. There is a large increase in the numbers simply due to market share increases with more races switching to RunSignup, but the per Race data is very interesting:
Just to explain this data, there are actual registration counts during that period. Many of the registrations are for races that will take place in the spring, with some even further out. So things will change…
We have a couple of different theories about this:
There are fewer smaller races, so their registration numbers are holding up. Taking the 22% drop in total races from the first chart means there are just fewer 5K’s to sign up for.
Participants hesitant to signup. The difference between the 5% per race increase and the 22% drop in races means that not all participants are ready to sign up yet.
Larger race rates are down possibly due to participants waiting until closer to the event date. We speculate that since larger races typically have higher prices, there may be more hesitancy in signing up early. People may be concerned about future waves of Covid, or they may be concerned about being with large numbers of people yet.
Omicron Wave Influences. We are able to see the number of new races created on our platform each week, and saw that number dip considerably in December and January from the more normal 30% growth we are seeing from 2019 similar weeks. We believe this was due to race directors simply being hesitant to make plans while case counts and hospitalizations were so high:
More Races Switch to RunSignup
We have also kept track of the number of races in April on RunningintheUSA as well as the number open on RunSignup.
The smaller decline on RunSignup is another indicator that we have picked up market share during the pandemic. In addition, since 2015, we have measured the market share of RunSignup and Active.com. RunningintheUSA uses the API from us and Active to automatically populate their calendar, so the numbers should be fairly accurate. We do a manual count of 1,000 races on the April calendar from the link above.
The blip from September was from the high number of virtual races that were still open on our platform while other vendors did not have the same adoption rates we did with their customer bases. Here are the raw numbers (RaceEntry also has an API):
We think the 45% is a bit of an overcount since it is hard to capture all the races that happen, but we are likely in the 35-40% market share range now.
This will be the last of the Alexa Rankings since they are going to be stopping their service. We might try to find another service and start over again. We will include the full chart for historical purposes:
Taken in historical context, it is an amazing chart. It makes your realize how temporary things are when you look at the list at the bottom of once pretty significant vendors in this space who are now completely shut down – Crowdrise, SignMeUp, RaceIt, RacePartner, Competitor. In reality, endurance registration is a small market with only $1 Billion of transaction volume per year in the US. All of the vendors on this chart (including us!) are small.
These rankings are not an exact science. But they do give a general sense of web traffic and market share. We dropped by 6%, but our actual traffic is up from 2019 by about 40%. We also show less traffic on these charts because about 2,000 of our customers are using their own domain that we host on our platform, such as The Woodlands Marathon.
Top 100 Races
The Top 100 is a bit topsy-turvy given the pandemic. We promise to do a full year end review based on 2022 at the end of the year. But this vendor count is based on our best estimate and understanding of the Top 100 from 2019. We know we have at least one customer who would have risen into the Top 100, and we are sure there will be more change this year as events emerge and some lag.
RunSignup does not have the same dominant market share in this space, but we are #1 in terms of number of organizations and number of races.
We are hopeful to see more races and more participants coming back this year, although the numbers do not quite reflect that quite yet. We will be publishing our Q1 company metrics in another week and a half, which will contain other useful metrics for the industry as we accumulate the whole quarter and provide some more stats.
We, of course, are grateful to our customers who keep coming back and recommending us to our friends. We particularly enjoyed the recent post on Race Directors Hub with all the nice comments when a person asked for a recommendation of registration provider. It goes on for 85 comments (and there are recommendations for some other vendors in there, but the trend was set in the first 5):