We have been doing race registration market analysis every 6 months for many years. We did special ones over the past year and a half due to COVID. Things are more back to normal now, so we will return to the previous format. Here are the old ones:
- September 2015
- March, 2016
- September, 2016
- March, 2017
- September, 2017
- March, 2018
- September, 2018
- March, 2019
- September, 2019
- April, 2020
- September, 2020
- March, 2021
Recovery from COVID
We are seeing a gradual recovery from COVID. We did an extensive report in July that showed a number of positive (although not fully back to normal) trends, and we will do another one in October and our annual Trends.
For this report, we pulled an interesting set of data. It shows the number of registrations for events by size that happened from July 1 – September 14 and compared them to a similar period in 2019. Remember, this just shows the registrations during that period and is not the total number of registrations for each race.
This shows that each event that is taking registrations saw about the same number of registrations this year as in 2019. This is very encouraging given the rise of COVID cases and hospitalizations and deaths due to the Delta variant. The sense is that many people are learning to live with the situation, and life seems to be returning to a more normal pace as vaccinations rise and it seems the Delta variant has hit a peak and will begin to fall.
We are not complete with Q3, but this is an estimate of our numbers for the quarter to show there is a return to more normal looking patterns for our endurance community:
We will caveat this with the fact that the registration market in total will not look like this. We have seen a number of other vendors either go out of business or considerably reduce their scale. In fact, we saw about 25% of our registrations in Q3 come from new customers since Q3 of 2019. While a number of our customers have been creative and aggressive and grown, there our 2019 base of customers are still about 20-25% below their 2019 capacity. Again, some of them may have gone out of business, but anecdotally, a number of them tell us they are either scaling back or not holding events until COVID clears more.
Market Share Analysis
When we started this report back in 2015 Active was the dominant vendors still. Over the years, our company has consistently produced new technology for the endurance community and has been the lowest price alternative. The numbers are difficult to come by, but our estimate is that we had about 30% market share pre pandemic and may have jumped to about 45% or so post pandemic.
The vendor community looks quite a bit different. Eventbrite has left the market after an aggressive run at it. RaceIT, Race Partner, SignMeUp and others are no longer in business. RaceWire and GetMeRegistered were acquired by Stack Sports. Races Online partnered with RaceRoster for registration. And Race Roster was acquired by Asics. And Race Roster acquired RunScore. Chronotrack partnered with us. News Media went on a major buying spree consolidating much of the newspaper industry by also acquiring Gannett, and they also increased focus on events by acquiring Rugged Manic and Hot Chocolate and a number of other events as well as two registration companies – IMAthlete and Enmotive. BikeReg/AthleteReg was rolled up in a media company called Outdoor. And more. We typically write these up in our blog, so feel free to search!
Back in 2010 when RunSignup was created, it was enough to just process credit cards. The technology needed now to be competitive is beyond a small startup and requires a lot of sophisticated infrastructure and capability. Processing money has become more regulated, there are serious sales tax requirements for vendors to collect and remit (we’ve paid over $2 Million in sales tax this year to over 7,900 jurisdictions on behalf of races), built in free website capability, built in free email, virtual and challenge capabilities, scoring software, continuous security enhancements and monitoring, and so much more. Small companies simply do not have the resources to build the extensive set of features that customers now require. This has led to consolidation, and will likely lead to more.
RunningintheUSA is the largest endurance race calendar, with a high degree of curation. We have been using their listings as a way to see how the overall market is doing. In 2021 they only have 32,178 races listed as compared with 47,238 in 2019. However, they have 6,078 races listed in October, 2021 which was up a bit from October 2019 at 6,044.
We also do a count of 1,000 sample races and are able to easily see the GiveSignup | RunSignup races with the pink button, the Active races and the Race Entry races since RunningUSA calls each of those company’s API to get a list of races automatically. We had 584 of the sample 1,000 races listed for October and picked randomly over several weekends. Active had 94 and Race Entry had 34.
We also try to count the number of races in October that are listed on each website. In the old days the calendars were more available and easier to count. Some have gotten hard to collect. In 2019 Race Roster and BikeReg both provided numbers directly and if they do this year, we will post update the blog and this chart:
The 584 count on RunningUSA makes sense for 1,000, since there are about 6,000 races on RunningUSA, and we have 3,686 races in October using GiveSignup | RunSignup (these numbers do not count our new nonprofit Ticket events but do count endurance fundraising events like Cycling or walk fundraisers). As we have said in past years, while RunninintheUSA does an amazing job, there are likely many more events that are not listed. Hence, we do not think we have 58% market share, but probably closer to 45%.
We have also been tracking Alexa website rankings in the US for years. One of the things to remember is that the scale is somewhat logarithmic. The other interesting thing is that page views have increased for us from 49 Million to 63 Million in Q3 this year compared with Q3 2019, yet our rank fell from 2,993 to 3,376.
The Top 100 races have been impacted severely by the pandemic. Pre pandemic the Top 100 accounted for about 6% of the total number of endurance participants per year across all events. Large events like Boston and Broad Street have postponed to the fall, there are limits on capacity in most of them, and some tough times for many of them and their vendors. We will not be doing a deep dive on this like we used to in 2021 due to the lack of meaningful data.
GiveSignup | RunSignup seems to continue to lead in the number of Top 100 races with about 22-25 depending on how the Top 100 is counted.
While there are still enough quality vendors in the market to offer endurance events alternatives, there will continue to be consolidation. Although the number of choices will decrease, the completeness of solutions will continue to increase.