Let’s take a closer look at this new pricing structure for the Spartan Race Annual Passes. There have been some, strong, reactions, and I think I can help clarify some of the concerns. (Take note, I have no direct link to any financials to Spartan or any other organization, this is my mind maths).
Spartan Race Annual Pass Target Audience
First, let’s talk about targets. What are these targets? Why, you and me of course. What does that mean? Well, a lot. Really it boils down to how many races in a year do you do? That’s what you need to ask yourself. Now that the OCR landscape has pretty much gotten rid of all the passing fancy races and those who couldn't stay in the party; we now have a solid landscape of races that are dependable. Those are: Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Battlefrog, Savage Race, Bone Frog Challenge, Gladiator Rock n’ Run, and Terrain Racing Series. Those are the regional to large races that are all multi location that just pop off the top of my head. So ask yourself, how many races of each do I want to do?
In the current scape of OCR, all of us want to run as many of each event as possible. This means we will be supplanting one race series with another week by week. Here is where things get sticky. The Spartan Annual pass was for a while, the go-to standard of OCR junkies. We pick up that pass early and register our whole race season out. The thing is, we had such a variety of racers that picked up the season pass. There were the junkies (Yeah, I’m one too) who picked up the pass and registered for 18 races. Why 18? That’s how many Spartan Races I’m already planning on doing this year. Then you have the Trifecta followers who go for 13x-16x trifectas. So that’s a max of 48 races. Think about that…. 48 races for $550 (last years cost).
Then we have our lower utilization crowd. Those who buy the season pass and only do a trifecta, plus one or two more races to get their monies worth. I like to think of that as the Six Flags Crowd. Who buys a season pass and makes sure to go ride roller coasters at least three times to pay for the pass. So, which target are you?
Spartan has three options. A Regional pass for $250 that gives you three races close-ish to you. A destination pass that gives you six races anywhere for $500. Then there is the big daddy $700 annual pass that gives you all the races you want, and even more behind the scenes benefits. Heck, the Battlefrog Elite Season Pass is $750, why is it not getting any guff? Who are you as a racer? How many races do you actually do in a year, and how many are you planning to this year? That’s what it boils down to. Now, that’s just the customer side looking at the rate of the races vs the cost of the passes. Let’s talk about logistics for a moment.
First off, from the 2104-2015 season, they increased the number of races in the US by 40%. That’s a monstrous increase in races year over year. A 20% increase would have been considered high, going to 40% is just unreal. And with the increase in events, there also is an increase in cost to the company, and conversely us, the customers. That’s the transitive property in work people! Let’s take a look at the costs associated with putting on these events.
Venues across the US have been increasing their prices year over year. Our sport is the fastest growing in the country, and venues know this. The cost for the vast majority has gone up year after year. Venues are not cheap. Venues that can host Supers are even more expensive. Then the ones large enough for Beasts… super expensive. That’s why there were so many Trifecta Weekends and Beast/Sprint weekends. Spartan loses money most times there is a double beast at a location. So they have a Beast and a Sprint for most everyone else. Otherwise, they lose money because not enough people run Beasts.
While some obstacles are trucked in (which is its huge cost), many obstacles are all built from locally sourced items. Think sand, gravel, dirt, lumber, bolts, riggings… etc. The list goes on. Now have enough stuff and enough STURDY stuff that you can have 5000-15,000 people in a weekend run up, over and through everything. That’s some serious coin. The kind of things you need to withstand that kind of stress is expensive, and a lot of it has to be bought at every venue, every time. Then you have to think about all of the equipment rentals. Large construction equipment rentals are not cheap, and you have to have skilled labor to operate them.
OMG THE INSURANCE FEE!!!
Well, that never went away, and it’s not going away. It’s a fee paid to a third party, not to Spartan. As our sport grows, insurance costs will increase. More runners = more chances of catastrophic injuries happening where that insurance would be needed. So, if you want the sport to grow and get more people, understand there is a cost to you for that as well.
OCR is something we are all passionate about, this is why the reactions like this come out with so much polarization, and in some cases, vitriol. It’s important to remember that while Spartan is a race series many of us love, it’s still a business. Businesses need to make money in order to expand. They can’t get bigger and better if they are losing money. If you can’t or won’t do the cost of the annual pass, then look at purchasing the Regional or Destination pass. Maybe you could volunteer your time to help build a course, or be there on race day to do something. That will help with their costs, which give you free races anyway.
Just remember, plan your season ahead of time, and buy the pass that will have the right value for you. If you are only going to run five races, buy the regional and just early register for the other two, or use the discount codes you find here on the site for the other two. You’ll still be saving money.
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and official policies of Mud Run Guide LLC, or their staff. The comments posted on this Website are solely the opinions of the posters.