If you’re ready to take the championship concept derived from looking at encores and playoffs to the next level, then you’re ready to implement the Always Be Racing concept.

The Always Be Racing (ABR) concept is just like it sounds.

Your goal is to maximize your promotion efforts by producing a multiple of each of your race products over an entire season.

Instead of hosting only a few races a year, the ABR concept focuses on producing groups of race disciplines over the entire year.

This way, you quickly go from one-off or start-up status to full production before your competitors have a chance (or the ability) to respond.

Additionally, you produce more value to each group of races produces by offering a series championship at the end of each group.

For example, if your competitor offers an annual trail run, you offer a three (3) trail run series with the last trail run as the series championship.

This connects all three races into something that can be marketed together, including more opportunities for racers to participate in, and add value to those that race to become a series champion.

When compared to a single event, the series packs a much bigger punch.

Plus, as a promoter, you can spread expenses, discounts, and prizes across all three races.

Here’s how it works:

ABR Growth Model

The ABR concept uses the Race Promotion Growth Sequence (TM) to build growth over a 5-year cycle.

This means that growth does not happen overnight, but instead uses stages to build momentum over a period of time.

These stages include:

  • Year 1 — Promote two races in one year using your validated racing system
  • Year 2 — Promote a multi-race series with a championship race as the third or fourth race
  • Year 3 — Promote eight races in one year that includes two 3- or 4-race series
  • Year 4 — Promote thirteen races in one year that includes three 3- or 4-race series
  • Year 5 — Promote twenty-one races in one year that includes three 3- or 4-race series

Twenty-one is the magic number you are aiming for when implementing the ABR concept.

Why twenty-one?

The first reason is based on the typical calendar.

The modern calendar is broken up into 12 months to make a year, divided into 52 weeks or 26 two-week segments.

If you promote twenty-one (21) races in one year, that is roughly one race every two weeks.

It doesn’t have to mean that you are promoting a race every two weeks.

Instead, it becomes your seasonal schedule for races that could look like this:

  • 0 x January (Off-Season)
  • 0 x February (Off-Season)
  • 3 x March
  • 3 x April (Series #1 Final)
  • 2 x May
  • 1 x June (School’s Out)
  • 2 x July
  • 4 x August (Series #2 Final)
  • 1 x September (School’s In)
  • 2 x October
  • 2 x November
  • 1 x December (Series #3 Final)

You could build your schedule to host races every weekend during a particularly good month or stagger them out over the year to build in time to rest and recover.

Looking at it another way, twenty-one (21) weekends worth of racing leaves 31 weekends of no racing.

If you can plan all your races at once, and build your racing system to be repeatable, then only working roughly 50-percent of the year is not a bad way to make a living.

The key is building your portfolio to reach twenty-one (21) races in one season.

Another reason twenty-one works is that fits very well into the 3-race series model.

Implementing ABR does not mean you only build multiples of a series.

Sure, you could technically develop seven (7) series events with three (3) races in each series.

However, that might not work for all your potential customers, available venues, or your own need to stay invested in race promotion.

This is why the ABS Growth Model only focuses on building out three (3) 3- or 4-race series in one season.

If your goal is twenty-one (21) races in a season, your portfolio will only include 9 to 12 races as series events.

That leaves you the other 9 to 11 races for one-off events, experiments, or sanctioned events that include regional or national-level qualifiers.

ABR Diversified Approach

Breaking your season up into segments will allow you to appeal to an array of different types of racers.

It also allows you to manage your environment by hosting race disciplines during parts of the season that make other disciplines restrictive.

This means you will be able to promote races long after your single disciplined competitor is done for the season.

A diversified season can also allow you to save your bigger races for when most of your customers are out of school, vacationing, or looking to find a good reason to be outside.

You do not need to be focused on racing only when that disciplines race season is underway.

Diversification allows you to switch from one kind of discipline to another and maintain your racing momentum without losing profit or disappearing until next year.

When only two or three months out of the year are technically your off-season, you can increase your overall demand by always offering something new and different to try.

ABR Challenges

One of the main challenge created by having a diversified racing portfolio is keeping your audience engaged when you constantly shift from one sport to another.

This switching back and forth between your target customers can make communications difficult.

This is why you need to have good marketing and outreach orchestration in place.

Without this, your single discipline competitors can take advantage of when your attention moves away to a different sport altogether.

They can claim that you’re not really part of that race disciplines community and only in it for the money.

However, producing a quality product and showing your value easily removes these claims from your customer’s minds.

By carefully managing and teasing each of your audiences with events throughout the year, or breaking your events into both a Spring and Fall series.

Your customers will see why 6 to 8 races worth of value is better than 1 or 2.

Your Season Revised — But through the lens of ABR

What does a profitable ABR racing season look like?

When you reach the fifth year of racing, your twenty-one (21) race season could potentially look like this:

6 Spring Races (March-May)

  • 1 Race — Spring Adventure Race
  • 4 Races — Spring Trail Running Series
  • 1 Race — Spring MTB Endurance Race

6 Summer Races (June-August)

  • 1 Race — Summer Adventure Race
  • 4 Races — Summer MTB Series
  • 1 Race — Summer Off-Road Duathlon

9 Fall Races (September-December)

  • 1 Race — Trail Running Half-Marathon
  • 3 Races — Fall MTB Series
  • 1 Race — Fall Adventure Race
  • 4 Races — Fall Trail Running Series

Your season will vary because, well, it’s your season!

While I use some of the staple off-road race disciplines (e.g. mountain bike, trail, and adventure racing) in the above example, there is no limit to what you could have.

The point is to not have 21 races that are all the same.

Having 21 exact copies does not get people excited.

Instead, this ABR concept focuses on having playoffs at the end of each set of races by holding a set of series championship 3-4 times a year.

Just like with the encore given by a band, giving your racers something more than what they expected produces demand, anticipation, friendly racer competition, and drama.

All things that create customers for life.

Being interesting — by itself — can increase your potential value.

It also makes achieving that $5,000 number much easier.

If you give enough encores and hold enough playoffs, you may find that 21 races a year is just enough to build a very successful business on.

Your growth model needs to go to the gym

Do you want to see how the ABR concept fits all together with some of the other Reckoneer concepts?

Then list to my Merchants of Dirt Podcast Episode #29:

First, I talk about why your competitors are lazy.

By this, I mean that they don’t change their strategies all that often, especially when new challengers show up.

Next, I get into how off-road race promotion is a close cousin to Event Management and Sports Management.

You can learn a ton by observing other industries.

Finally, I take the championship concept we derived from looking at encores and playoffs and apply it to your race promotion business by implementing the Always Be Racing or ABR concept.

Building volume has everything to do with the number of races you host in a season.

Is it time you went all in on your own race promotion blackjack?

If you’re looking to go all in on off-road racing, you need to maximize your promotion efforts with a whole portfolio.

Maximum effort means volume, and volume requires that you produce more than 3 or 4 races a season.

And now you know!

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Posted by Kyle Bondo

Kyle started Reckoneer with the simple mission of helping those who want to become race directors and learn the mechanics of outdoor recreation engineering. Kyle demystifies outdoor racing with over 20 years of endurance and outdoor industry business knowledge. Combined with his top-rated podcast Merchants of Dirt, dozens of articles, lessons, and infographics, Kyle has made Reckoneer the premier educator in outdoor event management. Build better races today!