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Bring On the Mud, Bring On the Fun: Eventbrite Survey Reveals Obstacle Challenges and Themed Runs Have Become More Popular Than Marathons and Half Marathons


With Over 100% Growth in Alternative Endurance Events, Athletes Are Proving Eager for Creative, Challenging Ways to Raise Money for a Cause, Stay in Shape, and Have Fun

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Jun 25, 2013) - Eventbrite, the self-service registration and ticketing platform popular among endurance event organizers, today shared the findings of a new online survey conducted among 2,233 U.S. adults illustrates the strong demand for athletic events that incorporate themes and obstacles to challenge and delight participants in new ways. The findings, collected by Harris Interactive Service Bureau and commissioned by Eventbrite, reveal that in a relatively short amount of time these unique events have become equal in popularity to more traditional running events, namely marathons and half marathons. In addition, of the people who have participated in themed runs and obstacle challenges, nearly half plan on participating in more in the year ahead.

With ever increasing popularity of these events in recent years, Eventbrite commissioned the survey to examine people's interest in getting involved in themed runs (e.g., Santa runs, turkey trots, colored dye runs, zombie runs) and obstacle challenges (e.g., mud runs, obstacle races). Below are some of the key findings from the survey:

  • Obstacle challenges and themed runs have spiked in the past few years and are already as popular as traditional marathons and half-marathons

    • - While 6% of people in the general population have participated in marathons and half-marathons, 5% of people have participated in obstacle challenges, 7% have participated in themed runs.

    • - Nearly 1 in 5 people who have not already participated in these new athletic events said they have considered participating in an obstacle challenge (18%) and themed run (17%).

  • Alternative endurance events are catchy, and likely to see continued growth: Among those who have participated in alternative endurance events and expressed their future plans, nearly half the respondents indicated that they would participate in more themed runs or obstacle challenges. (46% and 45%, respectively).

  • People are influenced by online social sharing: 1 in 5 people indicated that they are more likely to participate in obstacle challenges (19%) and themed runs (20%) when they see friends and family sharing photos and info from these events on social media channels.

  • Family, friends and community are a driver: Over half (54%) of current and potential themed run participants reported that they would do a themed run to get out and be with their friends, family and community. Similarly, obstacle races also draw in groups, with 41% of all current and participants seeking to take part in these events for social reasons.

  • Fun and charity are the name of the game: Nearly two-thirds (63%) of current and potential themed run participants want to support a cause, and almost as many respondents (61%) report that they simply like the fun of it. Over 7 in 10 (71%) current or potential obstacle run participants say they do it for the fun, too. Losing weight was reported as a driver to a lesser degree with only 36% responding that it was a motivation.

"These types of alternative endurance events are the perfect mix of fun and fitness, and they are created with groups of friends and family in mind. Participants sign up, join in, and want to celebrate together, which explains why social media is such an important driver for registration," said Christine Bohle, senior endurance marketing manager at Eventbrite. "This focus on community is also why we're seeing so much growth in obstacle challenges and themed runs on our own platform -- Eventbrite's integrated social sharing tools on race registration pages make it incredibly easy for people to spread the word about these events, and reach the growing community of active individuals who want to bring creativity and community to their workouts."

Fast Growth of Endurance Events on Eventbrite

Eventbrite has managed registration for over 975,000 participants who have attended over 7,000 endurance events of all kinds -- from traditional marathons, triathlons and century rides, to mud runs. In the past year alone, the company has seen the number of obstacle challenges on Eventbrite's platform increase by 136%, and the number of themed runs on the platform increase by 100%. More generally, the number registrations for endurance events on the platform has increased 129% in the past year. This data demonstrates the growth the entire endurance industry is seeing, with obstacle challenges and themed runs serving as a primary contributor to the overall expansion of the market.

One of the most influential themed runs is Bay To Breakers, which has been counted among the top ten festival races in the country by Running USA. This year, Bay To Breakers partnered with Eventbrite, to register the thousands of costume-clad athletes who took to the streets of San Francisco in May. This partnership showcases a shift in race directors seeking innovative registration platforms to help reach new communities of active event-goers, and social media promotion is a big part of that.

For more information about Eventbrite's offering to organizers of any event -- from obstacle challenges and themed runs to marathons, triathlons and gran fondos -- check out: www.eventbrite.com/endurance. Additionally, an infographic from the endurance survey results can be found here.

About Eventbrite:

Eventbrite enables people all over the world to plan, promote, and sell out any event, and has sold over 100 million tickets and registrations worldwide. The online event registration service makes it easy for everyone to discover events, and to share the events they are attending with the people they know. In this way, Eventbrite brings communities together by encouraging people to connect through live experiences. Eventbrite's investors include Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, and Tenaya Capital. Learn more at www.eventbrite.com.

About the Survey:

Data for this survey were collected online by Harris Interactive Service Bureau ("HISB") on behalf of Eventbrite between March 11, 2013 and March 15, 2013 among 2233 U.S. respondents, age 18 or older. The data include oversamples of those who have ever participated in either obstacle challenge or an event themed run. HISB was responsible only for the data collected and data weighting.

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