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As you make your decision, a few areas to focus on:
Live Event Operations: Can you host a socially distanced live event? To do so, are you prepared for corrals and packet pickup time slots?
Virtual Timeframe: Does any virtual component have to be completed on the same day as the live event? Generally, a longer window is expected for a virtual event.
Fulfillment Planning: How will you handle packet pickup and/or shipping?
Is your event regional, where even your virtual participants are local? Does that impact your packet pickup options?
Are you shipping virtual packets before or after the live event? What is your plan for packets for live-race no-shows?
Results and Timing: Is your live event a standard timed race, or more of a casual run (similar to a virtual race, but in-person)
Pricing: Is pricing the same for both the virtual and live race.
By keeping the price the same, you make it easier for the registrants to decide if they really want to run virtually or attend the live event. It also makes it easier for participants to transfer if they change their mind.
There will still be a LOT of uncertainty in 2021. How do you decide what option(s) are best for your event?
Who is on board?
The decision isn't always up to you - start having hard conversations now to determine where your stakeholders stand. These include:
Are there new requirements for permits?
Do these increase your costs?
Do these limit your number of participants?
Are they open for business?
Are there new requirements for spacing and sanitation?
Do these increase your costs or limit your numbers?
What are your Production Costs?
What do you have to spend to put on the event? Which costs are fixed, and which costs scale based on the number of participants?
Examples of Fixed Costs
Park and municipal permits
Police for road closures
Base timing fee
General liability insurance
Examples of Scaled Costs
Swag (shirts, medals)
Water and snacks
Per-runner timing fees
Account for Increased Fixed Costs
Modifications to increase distance and sanitation often include extra costs. Examples include:
PPE for staff and volunteers
More hours for timing and employees to spread out the start
Lower port-a-potty ratio
Significant amounts of hand sanitizer
Individually packaged water or snacks
Break-Even Analysis: What is your Minimum Viability?
What it really boils down to is this: what is the minimum number of participants that you need to make the event financially viable - and can you meet that threshold with the modifications required by your jurisdiction?
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