There were 1395 finishers in 2016 vs 1811 in 2015, and also less teams and relays.

Clearly the price increase was a total bone head move on their part.

Here is my question- did anyone NOT get in to the lottery? I had been trying for 3 years, I did the race in 15, got in in 16 but I did do it because of their greedy stupidity.

I got in the second round of the lottery as well as numerous emails begging to register.

I would love to hear if anyone did not get in?

If this was their yield they are screwed because they will have diminishing returns from now on out. Once people check the bucket list I dont see a lot of repeat business for paying that price year after year.
It will be interesting to see if they drop the price for 2017. I don't follow the Escape very closely but do you know what the total registration revenue (excluding DNS/DNF) for the last two years is calculated as:

1811 x 2015 Registration price = ?
1395 x 2016 Registration price = ?

If the delta is slightly negative or positive, they might just hold to the 2016 price for a few years and let inflation devalue it.
HuffNPuff wrote:
It will be interesting to see if they drop the price for 2017. I don't follow the Escape very closely but do you know what the total registration revenue (excluding DNS/DNF) for the last two years is calculated as:

1811 x 2015 Registration price = ?
1395 x 2016 Registration price = ?

If the delta is slightly negative or positive, they might just hold to the 2016 price for a few years and let inflation devalue it.

2015 was \$425 with lottery entry

Actually, everyone that DNS and DNF also pad that. This year appears to be about 25 DNFs,
Last edited by: ChrisM: Jun 15, 16 11:14
I paid \$425 in 2015, this year it was \$750.

1811 x \$425 = \$769,675
1395 x \$750 = \$1,046,250

Seems like they made a good business choice and managed to get a (presumably) less crowded course at the same time! :)

Of course finisher numbers don't tell the whole story.

Edited to add in the \$25 for the lottery.
Last edited by: Zenmaster28: Jun 15, 16 11:17
Revenue increased significantly with assumed slightly lower costs.
(ie 416 less goody bags, numbers etc)
Zenmaster28 wrote:
I paid \$400 in 2015, this year it was \$750.

1811 x \$400 = \$724,400
1395 x \$750 = \$1,046,250

Seems like they made a good business choice and managed to get a (presumably) less crowded course at the same time! :)

Of course finisher numbers don't tell the whole story.

The point is not that they made more money, the point is that my guess is that they had to open up the lottery to way more registrants and even doing so acheived a lower yield. There are only so many people who would pay that price year after year.

I guess I see what they are doing as a short term strategy, especially in the context of declining participation rates in triathlon. Maybe IMG is trying to flip this burger.

I would like to hear if anyone on slowtwitch registered for the lottery in 2016 and did not get offered a spot.
Last edited by: endosch2: Jun 15, 16 11:29
Spot-on. Simple economics. At a fixed supply, increase price until demand decreases. Since many triathletes seem to have almost unlimited funds to spend on this sport, they still made more money.

Dick move for the sport as a whole, but Escape is a business so they have to make money to continue the race.
I'd like to know if anyone that raced this year and has done it other years in the past, found it less crowded than before. I've heard that as a common complaint for the race (crowded / sketchy bike course).
Zenmaster28 wrote:
I paid \$425 in 2015, this year it was \$750.

1811 x \$425 = \$769,675
1395 x \$750 = \$1,046,250

Seems like they made a good business choice and managed to get a (presumably) less crowded course at the same time! :)

Of course finisher numbers don't tell the whole story.

Edited to add in the \$25 for the lottery.

Maybe a couple of other points:
a. my guess is more people didn't finish this year than last because of the swim. Could be wrong, just a hunch
b. sponsorship is based on participants and I know at least one "qualifier" race opted out of the relationship in part due to their costs. So certainly some lost revenue on that side
c. the variable costs for the race are pretty minimal because sponsors pay for those items.

Of course I am just speculating, but I doubt their bottom line was up \$300K.
ajthomas wrote:
Zenmaster28 wrote:
I paid \$425 in 2015, this year it was \$750.

1811 x \$425 = \$769,675
1395 x \$750 = \$1,046,250

Seems like they made a good business choice and managed to get a (presumably) less crowded course at the same time! :)

Of course finisher numbers don't tell the whole story.

Edited to add in the \$25 for the lottery.

Maybe a couple of other points:
a. my guess is more people didn't finish this year than last because of the swim. Could be wrong, just a hunch
b. sponsorship is based on participants and I know at least one "qualifier" race opted out of the relationship in part due to their costs. So certainly some lost revenue on that side
c. the variable costs for the race are pretty minimal because sponsors pay for those items.

Of course I am just speculating, but I doubt their bottom line was up \$300K.

a. if the results lists are accurate showing starters and DNF's, very few DNFs in '15 and '16 (maybe 25-30 each year). But maybe someone without a time at all is not counted there, as all DNFs at least have a swim. Surely some people were pulled and could not continue. But no way it was 300+. Plus getting relocated by the boat does not equal a DNF as I understand it (get a time, but not eligible for awards)--- I think.
Last edited by: ChrisM: Jun 15, 16 13:49
ChrisM wrote:
ajthomas wrote:
Zenmaster28 wrote:
I paid \$425 in 2015, this year it was \$750.

1811 x \$425 = \$769,675
1395 x \$750 = \$1,046,250

Seems like they made a good business choice and managed to get a (presumably) less crowded course at the same time! :)

Of course finisher numbers don't tell the whole story.

Edited to add in the \$25 for the lottery.

Maybe a couple of other points:
a. my guess is more people didn't finish this year than last because of the swim. Could be wrong, just a hunch
b. sponsorship is based on participants and I know at least one "qualifier" race opted out of the relationship in part due to their costs. So certainly some lost revenue on that side
c. the variable costs for the race are pretty minimal because sponsors pay for those items.

Of course I am just speculating, but I doubt their bottom line was up \$300K.

a. if the results lists are accurate showing starters and DNF's, very few DNFs in '15 and '16 (maybe 25-30 each year). But maybe someone without a time at all is not counted there, as all DNFs at least have a swim. Surely some people were pulled and could not continue. But no way it was 300+. Plus getting relocated by the boat does not equal a DNF as I understand it (get a time, but not eligible for awards)--- I think.

The DNF thing is not a factor, the boat will take you to shore if you cant do the swim and you are allowed to resume the race.

The DNF rate was no different between the two years. Between the decline in teams and individuals there were probably 550 less participants in 2016. This may have made the bike course better for people with marginal handling skills.

My whole premise in writing this thread is that they went from a high demand race where there was a waiting list to a lower demand race where I am guessing they could not fill with all lottery applicants admitted because of their price increase. Yes it is a supply and demand exercise. I am sure they would have loved to fill 1800 slots, and they dont give a rats ass about the number of participants on the bike course.

They even posted on their facebook page last fall that they were full, these guys are terrible from a PR standpoint!

Unless they change their pricing model (early bird discounts or other multi racer discounts) they will see a few hundred less participants per year from now into the future until the race is gone in 3 to 4 years.

They could have slowly increased their price and they would have ended up in a better place in the long run.
Trust me, I agree with you. Did it in 2014 and 2015 and though I'd question doing it again (great event, but personally find the bike course quite sketchy), i'd never do it at IM prices (then add in flights/hotels, it's a \$2K weekend for a couple). I think they made a major blunder by (1) increasing so much and then (2) totally ignoring the issue and any call for some kind of explanation. Do they owe us one? nope, but they shouldn't be made when we look elsewhere for races. I think in addition to the fees they lost a lot of good will as well, which I think in our sport is important
I think in the long run raising the prices the way that did is going to end up being the wrong decision for them.....the decline has started and I project it will continue.....and that makes me happy because it was a dick move.
They also missed out on several hundred people buying merch to commemorate their bucket list experience there.
What made the large price increase?

New race ownership?

Brooks Doughtie, M.S.
Exercise Physiology
-USAT Level II
Brooks Doughtie wrote:
What made the large price increase?

New race ownership?

That was the whole controversy, they just upped it with no explanation. They stonewalled anyone who asked for more info. It was a PR disaster. It seemed like a really bad management call and they left their staff unprepard to deal with the backlash.
This is an interesting question - anybody not get in this past year that wanted to?

I did it in 2013, had a blast, always thought it would be fun to do again, but after the price increase probably will not anytime soon.
I think you should stop using words like 'yield'. In economic terms that tends to mean maximizing revenue from a limited resource, like seats or slots. Airlines tend to use it to describe their pricing models - yield management. They set prices that generate the most revenue possible with the number of available seats at a given point in time. I think a \$300k revenue boost (let's call the lost merch sales versus other savings related to fewer participants a wash) is pretty damn good yield management. Is it perfect? Probably not, but it's a damn fine start. And I would wager that most people will get over the pricing next year (being a year further removed from the \$425 rate) and that entries will rise.

A bigger issue might arise if the local tourism board who help with permits etc do their homework and challenge them on the lower contribution to the local economy resulting from several hundred fewer athletes and families travelling in the area. That assumes they have that sort of support, however.

***
+ 1 on that
They also hurt their charity partners who couldn't fill their slots at all. I had 3 or 4 charities email me asking me if I wanted a charity slot. Used to be you had to hurry and get one of the charity slots if you didn't make lottery. This year they couldn't fill them.
So you think entries will rise because people are further removed from the lower prices in 2017? That they'll essential just "deal with it"?

Now based on the large price jump, entries don't really need to jump do they for the race company to make the money they are making. But then the issue becomes when will people just not pay said large price fee and then numbers drop further? Which I guess you think the opposite occurs?

eta; i guess the reasoning "people won't even remember the cheaper prices they paid" seems kinda deaf tone, but i'm no economist.

Brooks Doughtie, M.S.
Exercise Physiology
-USAT Level II
Last edited by: Brooks Doughtie: Jun 15, 16 19:29
Yes, I think their numbers will bounce back next year. Maybe not 400 athletes, but they will bounce back. It's a bling race in a great location, it's not as brutal as an IM, and we are in a sport where people justify dropping a C note on a fancy water bottle.

I don't think your local Oly could get away with this. They are probably stuck with \$5 to \$10 increases, and adding things like Kids of Steel and try-a-tris to generate revenue. I know I'm walking away from a lot of running events with stupid entry fees, but I would pay a lot more for one of the monuments like Boston-NYC-London-Berlin, and probably without checking what they charged the year before.

(I could qualify this with a bunch of things like 'similar macroeconomic situation, assumes carbon fibre bikes not shown to cause cancer, if race declines anyway it will decline proportionately less than other races, etc, but where's the fun in that?)

***
Marlin wrote:
I think you should stop using words like 'yield'. In economic terms that tends to mean maximizing revenue from a limited resource, like seats or slots. Airlines tend to use it to describe their pricing models - yield management. They set prices that generate the most revenue possible with the number of available seats at a given point in time. I think a \$300k revenue boost (let's call the lost merch sales versus other savings related to fewer participants a wash) is pretty damn good yield management. Is it perfect? Probably not, but it's a damn fine start. And I would wager that most people will get over the pricing next year (being a year further removed from the \$425 rate) and that entries will rise.

A bigger issue might arise if the local tourism board who help with permits etc do their homework and challenge them on the lower contribution to the local economy resulting from several hundred fewer athletes and families travelling in the area. That assumes they have that sort of support, however.

Since I have a daughter applying to college this fall I was thinking of yield as the percentage of students who are accepted to a college vs who choose to go.

My hypothesis is that the lottery last year was no such thing, they let everyone in.

And in doing that they got probably 30 percent less people.

Before based on my experience they turned away probably 60 to 70 percent of the lottery applicants.

This is why I am posing the question - was anyone actually turned away?
i would like to know which charities has charity slots, and i renew the call for those who entered the lottery and did not get in. anyone?

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
Marlin wrote:
Yes, I think their numbers will bounce back next year. Maybe not 400 athletes, but they will bounce back. It's a bling race in a great location, it's not as brutal as an IM, and we are in a sport where people justify dropping a C note on a fancy water bottle.

I don't think your local Oly could get away with this. They are probably stuck with \$5 to \$10 increases, and adding things like Kids of Steel and try-a-tris to generate revenue. I know I'm walking away from a lot of running events with stupid entry fees, but I would pay a lot more for one of the monuments like Boston-NYC-London-Berlin, and probably without checking what they charged the year before.

And that is the thing. I believe that this race has basically achieved that same status. It is a destination race A bucket list race that people see as an accomplishment. If Boston or Kona jacked their rates up 50-100%, do you think people would stop going? Nope. They could tell me that a rolldown spot made it to me for Kona or that my BQ time was accepted with no adjustment & I would not even look at the price. I would hand over my AMEX, sign the receipt, and not realize the price until I looked at my bill at the end of the month.

People were (and apparently still are) really butthurt about the price increase, and are trying hard to show how PEM screwed themselves by raising the rates, but they still had a very successful race. And they solved the issue that many complained about before which was that the field was too crowded. They could have solved that by limiting the number of spots in the lottery at the same price, but that would cost them money. By raising the cost, and limiting the number of entries, they had a win-win. Smaller crowd, more money. You can argue that the net profits may not be different when you factor in other things besides entry fees, but if they had 300-400 fewer athletes this year and still charged the same amount, you would be seeing them either abandon the race entirely because of the net loss or increase the field next year to guarantee profitability.
Just curious then why did it have was it nearly 400 person drop in participation?

I think what they did was pretty brilliant, I'm just questioning this whole idea that numbers will go back up because of this legacy race. If that was the case wouldn't numbers have not dropped so much this year?

Brooks Doughtie, M.S.
Exercise Physiology
-USAT Level II
Last edited by: Brooks Doughtie: Jun 16, 16 7:44
Zenmaster28 wrote:
I paid \$425 in 2015, this year it was \$750.

1811 x \$425 = \$769,675
1395 x \$750 = \$1,046,250

Seems like they made a good business choice and managed to get a (presumably) less crowded course at the same time! :)

Of course finisher numbers don't tell the whole story.

Edited to add in the \$25 for the lottery.

Wasn't 2015 the last year of the \$25 lottery fee? So, wouldn't the also have missed out on \$25 x the number of participants who entered lottery, but did not get in?
ubdawg wrote:
Zenmaster28 wrote:
I paid \$425 in 2015, this year it was \$750.

1811 x \$425 = \$769,675
1395 x \$750 = \$1,046,250

Seems like they made a good business choice and managed to get a (presumably) less crowded course at the same time! :)

Of course finisher numbers don't tell the whole story.

Edited to add in the \$25 for the lottery.

Wasn't 2015 the last year of the \$25 lottery fee? So, wouldn't the also have missed out on \$25 x the number of participants who entered lottery, but did not get in?

Absolutely. In no way am I saying the above numbers tell the whole story.
Slowman wrote:
i would like to know which charities has charity slots, and i renew the call for those who entered the lottery and did not get in. anyone?

I was a participant in 2015. My wife volunteered and had a great time. Volunteers were told that they had a better chance of being selected in the lottery for the following year. She came away from 2015 Escape pretty excited, however, her name was not drawn. By that time, her interest had faded (or we paid the credit card bills for shipping bikes, SF hotels, SF merchandise, etc....not sure) and she opted not to register on her own.

So, I don't know that volunteers were entered into the lottery at large, or if this was some other draw. I would have to dig up some old emails.
My belief is that there are two ways for an RD to answer the complaint about a high demand race being overcrowded:
1. Raise the rate to decrease participation
2. Limit entries and decrease profitability

Both are going to piss off a bunch of people who either get shut out due to the more limited field size or that get shut out because they cannot afford (or justify) the new cost. Given that you are going to have pissed off people either way, would you rather make money or break even and piss people off, or lose money & piss people off?

I honestly don't know if they intentionally shrunk the field size or if that was just an unintended consequence, but it seems to have worked for them. If they keep the fees flat for 2017, I would bet that you will see more people because I know some who held out on the race this year hoping the price hike was a fluke & that public pressure would drive it back down. It doesn't make it any less of a bucket list race for them, and if they see that the fees are not going down, they will just swallow the cost to check that box.
And I'm not arguing that this tactic was good or bad. I was more arguing the idea that because this is a bucket list event people will pay. ~23% drop sorta bucks that idea, so I guess we need to wait till 2017 to see what numbers look like.

EtA: yes this is a huge bucket list event in Tri, I just disagree with the narrative that people will pay anything to do it.

Brooks Doughtie, M.S.
Exercise Physiology
-USAT Level II
Last edited by: Brooks Doughtie: Jun 16, 16 8:36
Your summary if unfortunately exactly right. Bummer for the sport but a true reality.
Sorry, I didn't answer that directly (and keep in mind this is just my totally uneducated opinion). I believe that the fall was a direct result of the sticker shock. I think people saw the massive increase, were immediately put off by it, & decided, while the rest of tri community grabbed their pitchforks in protest, to sign up for other races instead of Alcatraz for 2016. Now that the shock of the increase has died and the \$750 price is a known factor, people will make a decision to do the race or take it off their list for good. My guess is that people have had time to plan, save, and ponder the decision for a year & many will get back in the lottery for 2017. It may not get back to the same 2015 numbers (and I think the RD is probably cool with that), but I could see more folks getting back on board.

Of course, what this does not account for very well is how many repeat participants will abandon the race. Folks who live on the west coast who didn't have the same travel expenses & were willing to pay \$400 a year for an Olympic, but are not willing to pay \$750 to repeat the race each year.
Brooks Doughtie wrote:
What made the large price increase?

New race ownership?

I beleive the real issue here that I haven't seen mentioned (and I did not fully read the thread) is that they lost the lottery revenue. After the decision against WTC (Ironman) where the Feds declared their lottery a criminal enterprise, EFA ditched their lottery. How many people did they have buying lottery entries (not race entries) for \$25 a piece to get into a \$400 race? 1000, 2000, more? if at say 1500, they lost \$37k in revenue there, to make up for it, they raised the price of entry to cover it. At the end of the day, the race still cost X to fund including profit to the organizer, they had to make up for it somewhere.
Sorry, I didn't answer that directly (and keep in mind this is just my totally uneducated opinion). I believe that the fall was a direct result of the sticker shock. I think people saw the massive increase, were immediately put off by it, & decided, while the rest of tri community grabbed their pitchforks in protest, to sign up for other races instead of Alcatraz for 2016. Now that the shock of the increase has died and the \$750 price is a known factor, people will make a decision to do the race or take it off their list for good. My guess is that people have had time to plan, save, and ponder the decision for a year & many will get back in the lottery for 2017. It may not get back to the same 2015 numbers (and I think the RD is probably cool with that), but I could see more folks getting back on board.

Of course, what this does not account for very well is how many repeat participants will abandon the race. Folks who live on the west coast who didn't have the same travel expenses & were willing to pay \$400 a year for an Olympic, but are not willing to pay \$750 to repeat the race each year.

When I did Escape in 2013, it was one of the cheapest races I did that year (and it still cost like \$400). The catch is that I lived about 100 yards from Transition. Even Wildflower cost way more when taking into account gas, camping, etc.

Not sure how much of the Escape crowd is repeat customers, but it seems to be marketed as a destination race. Most triathletes I know in the Bay Area have done Escape, but it's not an every year thing like Wildflower, Big Kahuna (RIP), or even the local races.

/kj

http://kjmcawesome.tumblr.com/
kjmcawesome wrote:
Sorry, I didn't answer that directly (and keep in mind this is just my totally uneducated opinion). I believe that the fall was a direct result of the sticker shock. I think people saw the massive increase, were immediately put off by it, & decided, while the rest of tri community grabbed their pitchforks in protest, to sign up for other races instead of Alcatraz for 2016. Now that the shock of the increase has died and the \$750 price is a known factor, people will make a decision to do the race or take it off their list for good. My guess is that people have had time to plan, save, and ponder the decision for a year & many will get back in the lottery for 2017. It may not get back to the same 2015 numbers (and I think the RD is probably cool with that), but I could see more folks getting back on board.

Of course, what this does not account for very well is how many repeat participants will abandon the race. Folks who live on the west coast who didn't have the same travel expenses & were willing to pay \$400 a year for an Olympic, but are not willing to pay \$750 to repeat the race each year.

When I did Escape in 2013, it was one of the cheapest races I did that year (and it still cost like \$400). The catch is that I lived about 100 yards from Transition. Even Wildflower cost way more when taking into account gas, camping, etc.

Not sure how much of the Escape crowd is repeat customers, but it seems to be marketed as a destination race. Most triathletes I know in the Bay Area have done Escape, but it's not an every year thing like Wildflower, Big Kahuna (RIP), or even the local races.

Been racing in Northern Calif for like 20 years. Have not, and have no desire to do Alcatraz, even if it were free

Dave Campbell | Facebook | @DaveECampbell | h2ofun@h2ofun.net

Boom Nutrition code 19F4Y3 \$5 off 24 pack box | Bionic Runner | PowerCranks | Velotron | Spruzzamist

Lions don't lose sleep worrying about the sheep
h2ofun wrote:
Been racing in Northern Calif for like 20 years. Have not, and have no desire to do Alcatraz, even if it were free

But that's my point. You would have to drive down to SF, find pay for a hotel, and it would probably still be your most expensive race of the year without having to pay for a flight or for the entry fee.

Also you would crush that course. Long swim, short bike, hard run.

But hey, I would rather race a Tri for Fun any day. Love racing at Rancho Seco!

/kj

http://kjmcawesome.tumblr.com/
kjmcawesome wrote:
h2ofun wrote:

Been racing in Northern Calif for like 20 years. Have not, and have no desire to do Alcatraz, even if it were free

But that's my point. You would have to drive down to SF, find pay for a hotel, and it would probably still be your most expensive race of the year without having to pay for a flight or for the entry fee.

Also you would crush that course. Long swim, short bike, hard run.

But hey, I would rather race a Tri for Fun any day. Love racing at Rancho Seco!

A LOT cheaper also. :)

Dave Campbell | Facebook | @DaveECampbell | h2ofun@h2ofun.net

Boom Nutrition code 19F4Y3 \$5 off 24 pack box | Bionic Runner | PowerCranks | Velotron | Spruzzamist

Lions don't lose sleep worrying about the sheep
Brooks Doughtie wrote:
And I'm not arguing that this tactic was good or bad. I was more arguing the idea that because this is a bucket list event people will pay. ~23% drop sorta bucks that idea, so I guess we need to wait till 2017 to see what numbers look like.

EtA: yes this is a huge bucket list event in Tri, I just disagree with the narrative that people will pay anything to do it.

I fall in to the category of those 23%... meaning the wife and I had talked a lot about doing the race, UNTIL we saw the price increase.

Crossed it off the bucket list, but not because we did it, because we aren't goint to bother as we got priced right out. As has been stated before, factoring in travel, etc, the increase x 2 just isnt worth it anymore (for us.. obviously it was worth it to the people who did it).

Maybe when we dont have a mortgage, tuition for the kids, etc anymore we can afford to do it. Hopefully the race will still be there in 26 years...
slowman wrote about the price increase recently... http://www.slowtwitch.com/...catraz_2.0_5448.html

Not directly speaking to the lottery and I have no idea if people that wanted to get in... couldn't. It's a good question I suppose. If their costs didn't go up much, looks like raising the price turned more profit.

That said... my wife "wants" me to do Alcatraz for some odd reason and I'll probably pay the fee to do it once one of these years. I'm game for the race, just not jumping up and down over the \$\$\$.
Slowman wrote:
i would like to know which charities has charity slots, and i renew the call for those who entered the lottery and did not get in. anyone?

Myself and a friend entered the lottery this year. There are actually two rounds of lottery drawings. Neither one of us got in during the first round. The second round of drawings is where it gets interesting (to me at least). On the date that the second drawing was advertised to occur, there was a list of names released (my friend was on this list, I was not). About a day later the EFA folks came out and said that there was a mistake with that drawing and they would be re-doing it. On the re-do of the second drawing, I was in and my friend was not, however he was still able to register (did not) via the first "mistaken" go-round of the second drawing, so in essence we were both in (neither of us registered). I'm guessing there may not have been a mistake in the initial second drawing and it was just their way of including everyone/maximizing the number of entries.

So I guess in summary: technically my friend did not get in (based on the final lists from drawing rounds 1 and 2), but he was still able to register via the erroneous first drawing of round 2 so perhaps he did get in?

Just an interesting chain of events if you ask me.
I was thinking about this today, and I did the race in 2013 when it was in early March. If I remember correctly the race was under \$400 to register, which seemed a little high for the length of the event. I don't think the event itself is worth anywhere near the \$750 asking price, but the trip out to San Francisco, and the whole experience was worth that. So would I do it again? A very remote maybe. But I think it was a good bucket list race, and most triathletes I know could afford an Alcatraz every weekend.

If raising the price so high is what it takes to keep this race around, then I support it 100%.
Steve-oH! wrote:
I think in the long run raising the prices the way that did is going to end up being the wrong decision for them.....the decline has started and I project it will continue.....and that makes me happy because it was a dick move.

Agree. I've done the race 5 or 6 times and was excited when I got into the 2016 lottery, as I was going to do it with my 25 year old nephew (his first EFA). And then we saw the price. \$750 is obnoxious, and the 2 of us, and the local tri and running clubs, boycotted the race.

The good news is there is a pretty close alternative. Alcatraz Tri in August is \$450, is nearly the same course (in some ways better, in my opinion), less congested (900 entrants max), and is supported by the local clubs.

If things stay as they are, EFA will probably die.
Slowman wrote:
i would like to know which charities has charity slots, and i renew the call for those who entered the lottery and did not get in. anyone?

Well a friend of mine has told me a few times he participated in the lottery and didn't get in. But, I'm not entirely sure if that was really the case or not.
G\$ wrote:
Steve-oH! wrote:
I think in the long run raising the prices the way that did is going to end up being the wrong decision for them.....the decline has started and I project it will continue.....and that makes me happy because it was a dick move.

Agree. I've done the race 5 or 6 times and was excited when I got into the 2016 lottery, as I was going to do it with my 25 year old nephew (his first EFA). And then we saw the price. \$750 is obnoxious, and the 2 of us, and the local tri and running clubs, boycotted the race.

The good news is there is a pretty close alternative. Alcatraz Tri in August is \$450, is nearly the same course (in some ways better, in my opinion), less congested (900 entrants max), and is supported by the local clubs.

If things stay as they are, EFA will probably die.

Capitalism FTW.
I was in the lottery and didn't get selected (so at least 1). I registered for the TriCal version before the lottery draw so wouldn't have registered for Escape anyway, but interesting no one else here wasn't drawn in the lottery.
JSM83 wrote:
I was in the lottery and didn't get selected (so at least 1). I registered for the TriCal version before the lottery draw so wouldn't have registered for Escape anyway, but interesting no one else here wasn't drawn in the lottery.

I didn't bother entering this year as they had already listed the new price on their website, and wasn't interested in it for that entry.
nickwhite wrote:
I was thinking about this today, and I did the race in 2013 when it was in early March. If I remember correctly the race was under \$400 to register, which seemed a little high for the length of the event. I don't think the event itself is worth anywhere near the \$750 asking price, but the trip out to San Francisco, and the whole experience was worth that. So would I do it again? A very remote maybe. But I think it was a good bucket list race, and most triathletes I know could afford an Alcatraz every weekend.

If raising the price so high is what it takes to keep this race around, then I support it 100%.

Last I checked, the 750 didnt include travel for participants, their bike etc, but was just the entry fee. Not sure where you are getting that "a trip to sf is worth 750".

I'm truely glad you hang out with rich mofos who can afford it and that you have the success to afford it yourself. Good for you. But if you honestly think the average triathlete can afford that type of entry, you are delusional. As I said, I don't begrudge you your success, but to think a 750 entry is reasonable is laughable and shows you re not in touch with reality. Tome to spend some time outside your bubble
davejustdave wrote:
nickwhite wrote:
I was thinking about this today, and I did the race in 2013 when it was in early March. If I remember correctly the race was under \$400 to register, which seemed a little high for the length of the event. I don't think the event itself is worth anywhere near the \$750 asking price, but the trip out to San Francisco, and the whole experience was worth that. So would I do it again? A very remote maybe. But I think it was a good bucket list race, and most triathletes I know could afford an Alcatraz every weekend.

If raising the price so high is what it takes to keep this race around, then I support it 100%.

Last I checked, the 750 didnt include travel for participants, their bike etc, but was just the entry fee. Not sure where you are getting that "a trip to sf is worth 750".

I'm truely glad you hang out with rich mofos who can afford it and that you have the success to afford it yourself. Good for you. But if you honestly think the average triathlete can afford that type of entry, you are delusional. As I said, I don't begrudge you your success, but to think a 750 entry is reasonable is laughable and shows you re not in touch with reality. Tome to spend some time outside your bubble

I can buy an annual pass to Disneyland for less that this entry fee. :)

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davejustdave wrote:
nickwhite wrote:
I was thinking about this today, and I did the race in 2013 when it was in early March. If I remember correctly the race was under \$400 to register, which seemed a little high for the length of the event. I don't think the event itself is worth anywhere near the \$750 asking price, but the trip out to San Francisco, and the whole experience was worth that. So would I do it again? A very remote maybe. But I think it was a good bucket list race, and most triathletes I know could afford an Alcatraz every weekend.

If raising the price so high is what it takes to keep this race around, then I support it 100%.

Last I checked, the 750 didnt include travel for participants, their bike etc, but was just the entry fee. Not sure where you are getting that "a trip to sf is worth 750".

I'm truely glad you hang out with rich mofos who can afford it and that you have the success to afford it yourself. Good for you. But if you honestly think the average triathlete can afford that type of entry, you are delusional. As I said, I don't begrudge you your success, but to think a 750 entry is reasonable is laughable and shows you re not in touch with reality. Tome to spend some time outside your bubble

The average triathlete can afford a \$750 race that you might only do once...ie a bucket list race. Average triathletes are in the 6 figure salary range. A trip to SF sounds like a great idea to me.
Shortly before the race, they sent out a list of participants (in the results page). I believe there were over 1800 listed as registered, before the race. I wondered why there were so many no-shows or DNFs this year. Maybe they were did-not-pays instead?
I was solicited by Livestrong (with a 50% off code too), Travis Manion foundation (which I had never heard of), Heart in Motion also sent me an email, and there was one other, and someone gave these groups my email address because the only one of them I've ever raised money for was Livestrong. They were all looking for \$2500 in fundraising too, when it used to be \$1500.
I would have to search my emails, but I'm certain I did not get into the lottery, first or second, and I thought that is why charities were emailing me since I was a past charity participant.
Yes average triathletes have incomes over 100k, but those income levels still need to make measured decisions about whether to spend 2k or more on a weeked trip to San Francisco. I think the idea that every triathlete is some hedge funder is delusional. The average triathlete may not be worried about where the next \$100 is coming from, but by all means based on the information about household incomes from USAT triathletes on the whole are well off but dont necessarily have unlimited funds.

Actually a lot of people who make 150 to 250 k per year spend so much on housing, cars, keeping up with the jonses that they are really tight on discretionary income. Spending an extra 2 or 3 k is very noticable to those levels of household income.
davejustdave wrote:

I fall in to the category of those 23%... meaning the wife and I had talked a lot about doing the race, UNTIL we saw the price increase.

Crossed it off the bucket list, but not because we did it, because we aren't goint to bother as we got priced right out. As has been stated before, factoring in travel, etc, the increase x 2 just isnt worth it anymore (for us.. obviously it was worth it to the people who did it).

Maybe when we dont have a mortgage, tuition for the kids, etc anymore we can afford to do it. Hopefully the race will still be there in 26 years...

Yeah, that is where I am as well. My wife and I were set on getting into this race. We love visiting SF and the race has a lot of lure....I entered the lottery in 2015 and didn't get in and then when I saw the pricing for 2016, I didn't enter the lottery.

Unfortunately, I don't see us bothering with it at that price point. Factoring in travel, bike ship, and all of the post race entertainment, it's easily a few thousand dollars.......
I got in on the 2nd lottery draw and my wife didn't make it. Several months later, she got an email that if there were openings, she could get on the "wait list" and she did. The very next day, she got in.

I would love to participate in this race again, because it is such a technical course and doing it only one time leaves you wondering how you could really improve each leg of the race. At the current pricing levels, it's a once and done for me and my wife.

\$800 plane
\$600 bike transport
\$1400 entry fees
\$1000 hotel

Makes for an expensive weekend of fun...2nd time racing should be half price.
kylestone wrote:
I got in on the 2nd lottery draw and my wife didn't make it. Several months later, she got an email that if there were openings, she could get on the "wait list" and she did. The very next day, she got in.

I would love to participate in this race again, because it is such a technical course and doing it only one time leaves you wondering how you could really improve each leg of the race. At the current pricing levels, it's a once and done for me and my wife.

\$800 plane
\$600 bike transport
\$1400 entry fees
\$1000 hotel

Makes for an expensive weekend of fun...2nd time racing should be half price.

I'm a local and race a lot, but for some reason I've never been interested in doing this race. Definitely not with the price increase, which irks me out of principle (i.e., I'm not particularly price sensitive). The race also conflicts with Honu (the Hawaii 70.3) - well, usually not the race itself, but the extended vacation after the race. I'd rather spend my money on a couple of weeks on the Big Island, do a race that costs half of EFA, and then go scuba diving.

What no one's mentioned in this thread, though, is that EFA is only one of a number of well-known races that didn't fill this year, or didn't fill as quickly. Malibu, Honu, IMAZ, CdA...and the list goes on. So there would seem to be other factors at work here beyond the entry fee increase.

Ian
I entered and did not get in.

I recall receiving an email subsequently that may have offered a spot or indicated that there was the possibility to still get in, but it wasn't clear from what I remember.
endosch2 wrote:
Yes average triathletes have incomes over 100k, but those income levels still need to make measured decisions about whether to spend 2k or more on a weeked trip to San Francisco. I think the idea that every triathlete is some hedge funder is delusional. The average triathlete may not be worried about where the next \$100 is coming from, but by all means based on the information about household incomes from USAT triathletes on the whole are well off but dont necessarily have unlimited funds.

Actually a lot of people who make 150 to 250 k per year spend so much on housing, cars, keeping up with the jonses that they are really tight on discretionary income. Spending an extra 2 or 3 k is very noticable to those levels of household income.

Agreed.

And I think the USAT numbers are skewed. I know when filling out surveys I usually write in 1000000000 k annually even when I give honest responses to the questions that have anything to do with the sport because I don't really want USAT knowing my income levels.

And you are right about the keeping up with the Joneses syndrome here in the US. I have friends and co workers whi make well into 6 figures and live almost paycheck to paycheck and have no savings while my wife and I take a longer view and even though we make far less we stick to our budget and actually manage to put dough away.

Sure, we could say "F the budget, I want it" and pull cash from savings, or even just pass on 3 other local races to make up the difference... it is all about priorities and balancing the cost vs the reward... at the 2015 price point it was worth it... somewhere between that and the 2016 pp the scales tipped the other way.

Besides, there are plenty of other technical, once (or multiple times) in a lifetime courses that HAVEN'T raised their prices (yet). Better to travel to those first.
In regards to your last point, maybe it simply was a cash grab. Raise the price so much that even if it doesn't sell out, they'll make up for it.

Of course I don't think that works for long term benefit, but I think the sport is declining. It looks like they simply went with it and countered by grossly increasing fees. That's not long term answer, but maybe that isn't the worry. Stuff dies all the time and is replaced by something else. Maybe they accepted that theory and just are going to sponge as much money until they can't.

Eta: it's why I think this idea that this race is some pinnacle for triathletes is misleading. It's a great race no doubt but I think people are telling us "thanks but no thanks" to the price. 23% drop is a huge drop over one year. We luckily know the reason is the price, so will it come down or will it stay the same in upcoming years? If race management worries numbers will fall, then no point in dropping price too much.

Brooks Doughtie, M.S.
Exercise Physiology
-USAT Level II
Last edited by: Brooks Doughtie: Jun 19, 16 7:46
Surprisingly, there are some people out there who aren't even aware of the price increase controversy. I'm talking about the non-locals, newbies to the sport or considering EFA for the first time, and obviously non-ST readers!

I used to be a SF local and glad that I've checked this race off the bucket list before the price increase. I've been traveling and living nomadically, so swimming at various pools around the world with my EFA swim cap (this is the only cap that I kept, since it was a good quality one, when I had to downsize to live out of my backpack).

This cap is a conversational starter at pools around the world! The long story short version of the conversations is basically people say how excited they are that they got in the lottery this year. When I bring up the price increase controversy, they don't know anything about it. And then they ignore the pricing part, and continue to say that it's on their bucket list of races to do.