Monday, July 7, 2014

The Future of Participatory Events?

In my previous post "What's the Next Fitness Race Trend or Fad?" I ended with the following questions:

Where are we headed in this industry? 

With production costs escalating, safety concerns growing, permits to shut down urban streets more difficult to come by, and city services not subsidizing fees (New York Marathon Raises Entry Fee, Citing Police Costs) is the future of events in urban areas in question? 

Will we continue to see less populated suburban areas, ski resorts and controlled venues (stadiums, race tracks and amusement parks) vie for large scale participatory events?

To deal with rising costs and diminished subsidies we have seen significant increases in participant fees to major sports league (NFL, NBA, MLB) ticket price levels. Ironman registration fees — for a full distance Ironman, they are about $650, and for an Ironman 70.3, around $300.

While certain high profile brands and events in big cities such as Ironman and the NYC Marathon can command we are seeing a number of smaller event struggling and unable to compete and /operate.

Wall Street Journal
Ironman or Iron-Distance? A Triathlon Branding Battle Brews
Endurance Race Planners Puzzle Over How to Draw Crowds Without the Ironman Seal

I believe the future opportunity and growth in the industry will come with the ability to control a closed to traffic venue for a day or an entire weekend to full week. This control will allow events to better manage and provide a superior experience for participants and spectators, direct field/wave sizes, supervise safety and deliver a suitable environment for sponsors to showcase produces & services while engaging with consumers.
There have been a number of endurance sports parks to open and find success with large events being staged on the properties. The Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado hosted the 2014 USA Cyclo-cross National Championships this past January and received rave reviews.

After the London Olympics, the city took the cycling venue and created a self contained bike park.
Could you imagine the Disney World of endurance sports? A self contained property able to accommodate triathlon, cycling, running and other events without car traffic and all the amenities to serve up a world-class athlete and spectator experience?

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