Latest Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Endurance Event Businesses May Shutter by Year’s End Without Additional Federal Aid
WASHINGTON DC (July 23, 2020) – The Endurance Sports Coalition (ESC) sent a letter to congressional leadership pushing for additional financial support to be included in Congress’ next phase of pandemic relief legislation. The letter emphasizes the urgent situation facing the events-based industry suffering from near 100 percent event cancellations and contraction of event revenue. The Coalition urges Congress to provide easy access to grant-based funding to help companies sustain jobs and support the long road to returning to live events.
The grassroots coalition was formed in April to create one united voice for the endurance sports industry which accounts for 50,000 events in all 50 states and territories, 500,000 American jobs, and provides health and fitness experiences to more than 30 million people. The Coalition now has more than 850 members spanning the running, triathlon, cycling and obstacle course race industries.
“COVID-19 is crushing the industry,” said Tough Mudder CEO Kyle McLaughlin, a founding member of ESC. “From the smallest local 5k to the world’s largest marathons, the threat of the virus has brought our events to an immediate and shocking halt. As states see-saw through tenuous reopening, even the most aggressive states are understandably hesitant about permitting mass gatherings to safely occur.”
Tough Mudder’s global season has been postponed to 2021, along with the majority of its parent company Spartan’s. Major endurance sporting events across the United States, such as the IRONMAN series of triathlons, including the prestigious IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, HI, have also been erased from the 2020 calendar. And for every Boston, New York, and Chicago Marathon that has been cancelled or postponed, hundreds of smaller events have been scrubbed as well.
A survey conducted by ESC and Running USA, which included more than 300 endurance sports businesses across the US, concluded that without further support from Congress, two-thirds of the industry is at risk of disappearing by the end of 2020.
“Many event operators are not optimistic for their future,” said Jeff Matlow, Board President of Running USA, also a founding member of ESC. “Without additional support, many are at risk of losing their businesses, and others are fearful they will have to cancel events well into the future, in Q1 and Q2 of 2021.”
The survey found 92 percent of respondents have already canceled or believe they’ll be forced to cancel their remaining 2020 events. Collectively, nearly 90% of members have already conducted furloughs, layoffs or pay reductions, with further actions coming in the next two months if further support is not available. Furthermore, 82 percent of businesses surveyed who received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) have since depleted those funds. While the PPP provided a key lifeline following passage of the CARES Act, today, endurance sports organizations find themselves in the same position they were in before that money was made available.
The Endurance Sports Industry supports billions of dollars in annual economic impact to major cities and small towns alike, filling hotel rooms and restaurants and supporting sporting goods and specialty retailers. Thousands of charitable organizations rely on events as critical fundraising platforms to generate hundreds of millions in annual donations.
With no clear end in sight to COVID-19 restrictions, it is critical to ensure that organizations can continue to retain their staff, pay their suppliers, and be poised to host events for their participants again, once it is safe to resume group activities. To protect these organizations, the Endurance Sports Coalition supports the RESTART Act or similar congressional proposals, which would provide a fair mechanism to get funds to the businesses most in need, without bias to sector or employee count. Ultimately, the survival of the industry is reliant on Congress and Phase IV of COVID-19 relief.
ABOUT THE ENDURANCE SPORTS COALITION
The Endurance Sports Coalition consists of a growing roster of more than 850+ member organizations, who’ve come together as one collective voice to advocate on behalf of the industry. Forged by organizers of Spartan, Tough Mudder, IRONMAN, Rock & Roll Marathon Series, Running USA, USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, and imAthlete / enMotive, the coalition represents more than 50,000 events and 30 million Americans who rely on mass participation events to run, bike, swim, conquer obstacle courses, and better their bodies and their lives. The three-billion-dollar industry drives critical economic impact to major cities and small municipalities, employs 500,000 people, and raises hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of charitable causes. Click HERE to learn more and join the coalition’s efforts.