Heading into tomorrow's World's Toughest Mudder (official WTM blog, MRG Facebook coverage), Tough Mudder wraps up a year with many changes – from things as ‘small' as new BIG obstacles to multiple new distances and a swap of racing formats. In '17, TM debuted TMX, Tough Mudder Half and tested a TM 5k distance, and expanded both along with a 2-loop Tough Mudder Full course format in 2018. This year also saw growth in franchising of Tough Mudder Bootcamp. In 2019, TM plans to get back to basics with the “re-launch” of Tough Mudder Classic to go along with ‘throwback' and new obstacles and a revamped Tough Mudder 5k. The changes don't end there with new brand leadership/support by Impression Sports & Entertainment following rumors of a mid-season purchase of TM to yesterday's announcement of founder Will Dean stepping aside from his CEO duties to focus on another project in the UK.
During his year-end letter on TM's blog and today's press release, Dean outlines some strategic moves for TM and his own personal non-TM-related venture, Immersive Gaming Labs, as well as splitting Tough Mudder and Tough Mudder Bootcamp into separate enterprises.
From Tough Mudder Founder End of Season letter to the Tough Mudder Tribe:
“Today we made an announcement relating to a major decision for me, the company and the Tough Mudder community: We will be restructuring our company to split-out our rapidly growing Tough Mudder Bootcamp business from our events business. I want to share with the Tough Mudder community some of the reasoning behind this change.” – from Will Dean's End of Season Letter to the Tough Mudder Tribe
“As I reflect upon where we have come from those early rookie (and at times naively cocky) early days of our first events almost 10 years’ ago now, I am proud of what we have achieved but also humbled by the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us. This weekend is World’s Toughest Mudder (always my favourite event of the entire year) and the defacto end of our 2018 event season. I wanted to share with you some reflections on the year and a look ahead to what comes next for me, the business and the community.”
“We remain deeply committed to excellence and only ever want to put on events that truly move people. As such, next year will see some reduction in the number of North American events. This will not be a dramatic change but there will be some pruning as we focus on markets where we know we have a sufficient participant base to allow us to deliver a truly first-class experience.”
Today's Tough Mudder Press Release:
TOUGH MUDDER SPINS OFF THRIVING GYM BUSINESS INTO SEPARATE ENTERPRISE
Move Positions Company for Continued Growth Heading into 2019
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK (November 9, 2018) PR Newswire – Tough Mudder founder and CEO Will Dean announced today that the company is in the process of securing capital investment, setting the stage for continued growth in 2019. As part of this, the company will spin off its thriving new fitness business, Tough Mudder Bootcamp, into a separate business enterprise from its traditional live event business in order to allow both businesses to more successfully navigate their respective categories.
Dean will continue to head the Bootcamp business while also supporting the live event side. Both businesses will remain privately held.
“This is absolutely the right strategic move for both businesses,” said Dean, who launched Tough Mudder in 2010. “Tough Mudder Bootcamp, with its fast-paced growth and high potential, will see the benefits of this capital infusion as we add franchising-specific talent to support the rapid growth, as well as creative license to capture its full potential. The live event business needs more diligent focus on cost and the kind of scaling benefits that come from being part of an event bundle.”
Dean also emphasized that all elements originally included as part of the Tough Mudder Bootcamp franchise business remain in place for owners, including the perpetual rights to all Tough Mudder branding; the ability to market directly to Tough Mudder event customers; the right to activate for free at all Tough Mudder events, and the right to sell Tough Mudder live event tickets, among other elements.
“Ultimately, this move will allow us the platform we've built in Tough Mudder Bootcamp to continue to build on the fantastic momentum already being generated, while we reinforce the strength of the live events and maintain their success with an infusion of new ideas,” said Dean.
The Tough Mudder Bootcamp fitness business saw record-breaking demand from prospective business owners in its first year of commercialization with nearly 60 units sold, numerous domestic markets already selling out and continuous international demand coming from investors. The business has opened its first two locations and is gearing up to open its third, in Houston, Texas currently.
The Tough Mudder event business saw significant participation growth in 2018, driven in large part by the success of its new, shorter distance Tough Mudder 5K events. The brand has also continued to invest in new and more challenging obstacles as part of its courses, and this week announced 10 new obstacles for its 2019 schedule.
This year, Tough Mudder, Inc. and its licensees hosted an unprecedented 150+ events across nearly a dozen countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Canada and two new countries, South Africa and the Philippines, welcoming participants worldwide into a global community that embraces courage, personal accomplishment, teamwork and fun.
About Tough Mudder, Inc.
Founded in 2010 with the launch of the Tough Mudder obstacle course event series, Tough Mudder Inc. has become a leading global sports, active lifestyle and media brand. With more than 3 million participants, the company hosts more than 150+ events featuring non-competitive (Mini Mudder; Tough Mudder 5K, Tough Mudder Half, and Tough Mudder Full) and competitive (Tougher, Toughest, Tough Mudder X and World's Toughest Mudder) offerings annually in nearly a dozen countries including The United Kingdom, The United States, Germany, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Africa, the Philippines, Oman and more through its partnerships with IMG, Invictus Events, Pro Active, Let's Run Ireland and Sports Media and Entertainment 360 (SME360). The company's content arm provides the millions of engaged online brand enthusiasts with fitness, nutrition and wellness content delivered daily across social and digital platforms. Tough Mudder broadcast, OTT and Live Stream programming can be seen worldwide through partnerships with CBS Sports, Facebook, Sky Sports, The CW Network and ESPN Media Distribution. Other sponsorship and distribution partners include CELSIUS, Merrell, KILL CLIFF, Soap & Glory, Guinness, Jack Link's, BrewDog, Samsung, Lucozade Sport, Trek, Toyo Tires, Kingstone Press, Black Tower, Strandgut, Snapchat and Live Stream.