RaceNation, the leading integrated event registration, fundraising and event day app has released findings from a survey designed to evaluate the initial impact of coronavirus on the mass participation event industry.
The survey, conducted by Sussex Innovation researchers on behalf of RaceNation, took insight from over 2,600 event organisers, participants and charities to uncover the impacts of coronavirus on the industry. The data will be used at the centre of RaceNation's pledge to support the industry's redevelopment following these devastating impacts.
The biggest findings were around the financial impacts, with results showing over half (54%) of event organisers estimate a business revenue loss of over 50% during COVID-19, with 9 out of 10 race organisers (93%) having reported overall losses in revenue. While mass participation events are still financially viable for some, the impacts will be huge for the industry and it seems many won’t have the resources to come back, with 13% of the industry not planning any events for 2021. Of those continuing to plan for 2021, the majority of event organisers (71%) will be seeking new sponsors to fund future events as a result of lost revenue.
Upon its return, race organisers are predicting a change in consumer buying habits. Over half (59%) of race organisers foresee entrants purchasing tickets closer to the event with 13% believing that tickets will be purchased just before the event. When asked the same question, the participants replicated the change in buying habits, with 47% of respondents noting they will change to buying closer to the date of the race. While this still shows appetite for ticket sales, event organisers will need to prepare for the change in cash flow.
Remaining positive, more than one third (35%) of event organisers think ticket sales will increase because entrants haven’t competed in-person for a while. 19% of event organisers think that ticket sales will increase because more people have taken up running during lockdown.
It’s not all doom and gloom for events though, as participants show willing to support the industry quickly. After a long lockdown, consumers are itching to get back to events, with the survey revealing that four out of five (81%) of race entrants would race again within three months of lockdown measures being lifted, of which over half (51%) said that they would return straight away. While many events are still planning to go ahead in 2020 with restricted capacities, these findings show good signs that the right number of consumers are ready and waiting.
It seems nearly all participants are happy to get back racing in 2021, as 96% of respondents would race again within a year of lockdown measures being lifted. A positive light at the end of the tunnel for those events able to continue.
Virtual events have been enormous for participants and event organisers during lockdown, with over half (53%) of race participants doing at least one virtual event in lockdown, a sign that many racers are willing to still be involved in the online community. However, when asked if they would be willing to continue taking part in virtual events after lockdown, only 10% would be looking to continue, showing that while virtual events have been a great outlet, they aren’t strong enough to stand the test of time.
Charities have taken an enormous hit during this pandemic, with 82% of respondents reporting that their charity has lost donations due to Covid-19. It would also appear that donation habits changed to cater for new charities emerging from the crisis, with 82% of charities saying that the pandemic has had a direct influence on the type of charities that are receiving donations.
While the lack of charity events has had a devastating impact, charities are thankfully already making plans to not only help regenerate their own fundraising but also get events back up and running with plans to increase the number of events to gain extra fundraising. The majority of charity respondents (59%) are planning to set up additional events to make up for the loss of donations.
"RaceNation is committed to doing everything we can to help improve and rebuild the event and charity industries across the UK," said Will Golder, Director of RaceNation. "By completing this survey, we were able to gather a significant and in-depth understanding about the impacts that this virus has had on the industry and have validated some our decisions in securing new partnerships and building new features, products and services where they’re needed most.
"We’re extremely grateful for the overwhelming response from over 2,600 people and some incredible feedback and suggestions from some of the biggest names in the industry. While there are inevitable challenges ahead, we remain positive that the strong appetite from participants along with the passion from event organisers and charities will put the industry in a strong position to come back fighting for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021."
RaceNation has already announced multiple campaigns to support the rebuild of the event sector, having recently announced a partnership with The National Running Show to host the first ever Event Village for its 27,000 visitors to sign up to any race in the country, all under one roof. Last week also saw RaceNation announce a partnership with findarace.com that will allow any event registered with RaceNation to advertise on findarace.com completely free of commissions and fees.