Mass participation events Massive Pulse report

Mass participation events show signs of recovery, says Massive Pulse report

A new report providing insights into the state of mass participation events has found encouraging signs for the year ahead.

The Mass Participation Pulse 2023, a report produced by Massive, the mass participation specialist, surveyed more than 4,000 current and past event participants to better understand event participants motivations and behaviours.

The Pulse found current and previous participants not only wanting to take part in more events but also spend more, with 46 per cent of those surveyed expecting to take part in more events in 2023 than in 2022.

Also encouraging was the fact that not only do events participants tend to have higher than average household incomes, they also prioritised spend on event entries and sportswear compared to other demands on disposable income.

Mass participation events and spend on sportswear were ranked as more important than eating out, home décor and other forms of entertainment. When people reported what they were likely to prioritise, only spending on holidays was prioritised above events and fitness wear.

However a small minority of past events participants are still not ready to return to events, with 10 per cent still concerned about being in crowds, and many who have stopped doing events since 2019 with no plans to get back to pre- pandemic levels of participation this year.

Almost one in four cited concerns about fitness as barriers to getting back to events with people over 65 most likely to report stopping taking part in events post COVID. Meaning events run the risk of having a ‘lost generation’ of event participants who – due to age, reduced fitness, or changing behaviours – may not return to their previous levels of participation or potentially could be lost to events permanently.

John Tasker, director of Massive, said: “The challenge for the industry will be to encourage these participants to return, while also adapting and developing what we offer to attract new generations of event participants. Innovation around the types of events needed to recruit younger people to take part in events is key, with the challenge being to find ways to adapt to changing expectations from these participants.”

The report also found sustainability and diversity were increasingly important to events participants. With improvements in sustainability ranked highly when it came to improving events and the changes people want to see in the future.

Thirty-six per cent of those surveyed ranked sustainability as an important factor when it comes to the future of races, and this figure rises further for women and younger event participants.

Tasker continued: “We predict that this will be a big consideration especially with younger generations. For race organisers, sponsors, and brands in the coming years, they need to find ways to balance new expectations of how they operate whilst also delivering a fantastic event experience. For those that can do this successfully, the future looks bright.”