Commonly referred to as OCR, obstacle-course racing has been dubbed the fastest-growing sport in history. However, the sport has suffered a 30% decline in finishers in 2015, according to Running USA, which is an industry-funded research group. In the US, there have been a few high profile racing events that have gone bankrupt including Hero Rush, Run For Your Lives and Great American Mud Run. According to Obstacle Racing Media in the US, a number of events have reduced locations owing to falling demand.
This has led to several obstacle course races going bankrupt recently. One of the biggest shocks that came to athletes and racing fanatics was when BattleFrog CEO Ramiro Ortiz announced that a restructuring of the company will take place immediately to emphasize on its two highly successful media properties featuring the top Obstacle Course Racing athletes on both the professional and collegiate levels.
In 2016, BattleFrog averaged around 978 finishers per race. The number slightly rises to 1174 per race if we assume a 20% no-show rate. The announcement was devastating for the athletes from Canada and the U.S. who were preparing to participate for the upcoming series of races. The announcement meant that all scheduled runs were cancelled that included an event scheduled for Michigan, in New Boston.
Ramiro Ortiz guaranteed all refunds will be made within 30 days of his announcement. The decision of BattleFrog Obstacle Race Series to restructure its business model and suspending all race events was nothing but a shock for the racing participants. Several people were disturbed by the cancellation and the company’s intentions of restructuring itself as a as a media programming company as they had hotel and flight reservations.
BattleFrog was initiated by a team of enthusiasts and experts who were on a mission to bring awareness about fitness to individuals and families across the country. One of the purposes of the race was to raise awareness for other good causes and NAVY charities. Witnessing the fall of an organization that sustained a culture of health and fitness by holding racing events, people were disappointed to observe that BattleFrog never recovered from the change.
People are still sad to see BattleFrog go. Since they organized high quality events that challenged the participants to outclass other competitors, it supported the true spirit of sportsmanship and encouraged being physically fit to accomplish challenging races. Only time will tell how much popularity they will continue to enjoy among racers and racing enthusiasts.
Despite obstacle course racing events becoming a little less popular, several racing event companies continue to schedule races to cater to all audiences. The loss of BattleFrog has brought a considerable hole in the nationwide OCR world. BattleFrog and Spartan were deemed the most popular racing events for providing racing opportunities to competitive athletes. Savage has been becoming more popular with their Savage Pro Heat, but they are only catering to the East Coast and Midwest.
Similarly, Conquer the Gauntlet, has a restricted number of races even though it has received excellent reviews and currently doesn’t exist in the southeast. BoneFrog continues to expand down the east coast while receiving rave reviews. However, they do not cover for west coasters.
Tough Mudder continues to hold nationwide events but they present more of a challenge and not an actual race for their participants. However, they are planning to add 6 8-hour events that also feature a competitive option to their circuit, for pulling in other participants who have not become a part of Mudder Nation so far. The company has a massive opportunity to benefit from BattleFrog’s departure if it doesn’t want to end up going bankrupt too.
According to Spartan, its finishers increased by over 20% last year in the U.S. Industry giant Tough Mudder holds that its U.S. finishers aggregated up to 500,000 last year, around the same figure as 2014. A Red Frog representative refused to provide the exact participation figures, but declared their participants are growing in number and are enjoying increased earnings. However, Warrior Dash saw a decline in their participants from 600,000 in 2012 to 350,000 in 2014.
Tough Mudder launched the five-mile Tough Mudder Half earlier this year for attracting participants who are intimidated by the event’s total distance. Tough Mudder’s chief operating officer, Sarah Harvey has revealed that shorter events attract a younger and predominantly female crowd. The company is also hopeful about its future growth and aspires to come up with shorter events and extend its schedules to foreign lands.
Moreover, according to Scott Keneally, who is a journalist and veteran obstacle-course racer, interest in Obstacle Course Racing will be rejuvenated as more people are becoming interested to participate in both professional and amateur racing events.
Keywords: Obstacle Course Races Bankruptcy