Do you have a strategy to improve your sales volume?

No, this has nothing to do with how loud your events are during registration.

CenturyLink Field — the home field for the Seattle Seahawks — already has that record.

No, this volume has to do with the number of races you need to produce a year to stay in business.

In particular, the volume of races you need to host a year to be a profitable business.

Do you know what that number is?

It’s different for everyone.

And it has a lot to do with knowing how much you need to make.

For that sake of this article, let’s say you need $100,000 a year to build your races, pay your salary, and make a small profit.

How many races do you need to hold to make $100,000?

Do you know how much it costs you to build a race?

Yup, you’re going to need to know that number.

We’ll say that number is $2,500.

What are your per race overhead costs?

This is the cost that all your fixed and variable costs (e.g. permits, salaries, supplies, officials, profit) would cost per race.

We’ll say that number is $2,500 as well.

That means it costs us $5,000 a race.

How many races do we need to hold to make $100,000?

Simple division will tell us the answer is 20.

That’s assuming that we make $5,000 per race twenty times.

What happens if we don’t?

Well, panic would be your first option.

But panicking is not productive.

Strategizing! Now that is productive!

What is a good strategy to consider when thinking about the possibility that some of our races will not hit the $5,000 target?

Encores and playoffs.

Encores and playoffs?

Off-road race promotion is a close cousin to Event Management and Sports Management.

It is both of these things and neither of these things.

How are they the same?

Both concerts and races have spectators, the main event, and injuries.

How are they different?

Trail runners and mountain bikers are not drafted out of college and given a $4 million dollar, 3-year rookie contract.

But that would be cool!

That being said, you can learn a ton by observing other industries.

Think about the business that rock bands and football teams are in.

Just like race promoters make money by putting on races, the real money in performing music and playing sports, is in putting on rock concerts and football games.

And just like in race promotion, it is the volume of concerts and games that will make the business a profit.

Let’s look at rock concerts first.

If nobody comes to band’s show, the band doesn’t make any money.

However, if only a few people come to their show, they still do not make the money they needed to make to meet their expenses.

What is a rock band to do?


The encore is defined by as a “repeated or additional performance of an item at the end of a concert, as called for by an audience”.

We’ve all been to a concert where the fans just go nuts at what looks like the end of the show.

They want more!

If a band is smart, they come out and play a few more songs.

If a band is really smart, they come out and play a few more songs after the first encore.

The idea is to always do a little extra.

Give your racers something more than what they expected.

If you are going to hold 20 races, find out which race is you most popular, and hold it again.

Make that race your encore.

Help alleviate the stress low turnout by giving yourself a buffer.

A little extra race that your audience will love.

Same goes for football leagues.

The number of tickets sold is just as important to the team as it is the stadium that hosts the team.

Butts in seats are how football leagues pay their teams, who in turn pay their players, their staff, and all their expenses.

If people stopped coming to football games, the industry of football would crumble in a matter of weeks.

Fan support via ticket sales is how they make their money.

But how many games do you see that have numerous open seats?

Leagues don’t make money when only a few people come to see regular games.

What’s a football league to do?


The playoff is defined by as a “series of contests played to determine the winner of a championship, as between the leading teams in different divisions or leagues”.

We all love a good football playoff game.

Unlike regular season games, playoff games have more attendance, higher ticket sales, and better action.

They are essentially the same production.

Same stadium, same field, and same seats.

However, people seem to think that the higher price of a playoff game is worth it if they get to see their favorite teams win big.

Race promotion can have its own version of a playoff.

With 20 races in our imaginary season, you are bound to have repeat customers in many of those races.

Take advantage of that repeat business by awarding points based on who shows up and how they perform.

Like football teams earning wins throughout the year to determine who they play in the playoffs, your racers can earn points to see who is the champion at the end of the year.

You can further divide and group your races into sets of races called a series.

This is the mini-championship concept where you hold four events, the first three being regular races, while the fourth is the championship.

Championships can also be where you put the most effort into awards with quality prizes, bigger sponsorship donations, and even cash purses.

The point is to not have only 20 races.

Having 20 exact copies does not get people excited.

Instead, have playoffs at the end of each set of races by holding a series championship 3-4 times a year.

Just like with the encore, give your racers something more than what they expected.

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

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

And if you give enough encores, and hold enough playoffs, you may find that 20 races a year is just enough to build a business on.

And now you know!

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!