Costs to put on an Industrial Park Criterium
by Sean Burke
My primary area of expertise is as a coach. But once a year, I put on a different hat and play race promoter. The 2013 Spy Red Trolley Classic is scheduled for February 3rd, and this will be the tenth annual running of the event. Costs have gone up substantially over those 10 years, so several years ago I began sharing what it costs to put on an industrial park criterium. Most riders were shocked to find out how much it really costs to put on one of these events, and realized that race promoters aren’t lining their pockets with money. In reality, many promoters are probably struggling to break even, and sweating over a possible loss until the day of the race. A version of the following originally appeared on the Crank Cycling Blog in February 2012:
In 2010, I wrote about how it costs, $10,000 to put on a relatively small, simple, industrial park criterium. In 2011, I wrote about why it costs $11,000 to put on an industrial park criterium and now I am writing about how it costs ~$13,500 to put on an industrial park criterium. When this race first started in 2003, costs were around $8K, so costs have gone up by around 70% in the last 9 years. That is why we unfortunately had to raise entry fees by a few bucks this year. It is also why we are limited to categories that can fill. We run collegiate categories all morning and because of the smaller field sizes as well as the reduced collegiate entry fees, we are essentially losing money all morning. One way to look at it is that it costs around $1300 an hour to hold the event, and then then we have to do our best to get that back via race entries and limited sponsorship. The race promoter risks significant capitol and if the weather is great, it all comes back with a little bit of profit for all the time, expense, and risk. If the weather doesn’t cooperate and it rains all day ( as in 2008), The race promoter could lose several thousand dollars and has the privilege of standing outside in the rain all day.
While promoting a race is a lot of work, I’m always thankful for all the racers and all of the volunteers. The UAC Head official Greg Aden is an easy guy to work with and his crew did a great job. I would especially like to thank Spy for steeping forward as title sponsor for the event.
Want to know the cost breakdown? Here it is highest expense first, some are rounded to the nearest hundred, and a few are estimated.
Prize money: $2500
USAC Insurance: $1924
USAC Officials: $1830
Traffic Control required by City of SD: $1800
Ambulance Required by City of SD: $1650
Announcer Ralph Elliot ~ $1000 and worth every penny
Safety Equip: $500
Race numbers and supplies: $300
USAC Permit Fee $225
Other supplies: $200
Food for officials and race crew $160
City Permit Fee $100
See the 2010 posts for why some of the expenses are so high, and why it is difficult to reduce them. The costs that have gone up the most in recent years: Traffic control has gone up by $1500, and USAC insurance has tripled in cost over the last 10 years or so. Those are the expenses that have gone up the most. The others have all slowly creeped up and brought us from the $8K mark, to near $14K.