July 26, 2020 3 min read


Estimated 90% of Endurance Sports in Could Go Bankrupt Due to COVID-19

An estimated 90% of all endurance sports businesses in the United States are threatened by bankruptcy, putting a $3 billion+ industry at risk.

Endurance Sports Threatened by Pandemic with 500 Jobs on the Line

The coronavirus outbreak may be endurance sports own Achilles heel with 80% of all endurance event operators in the United States now threatened with bankruptcy before 2020 is out. According to the Endurance Sports Coalition (ESC), to survive, businesses will need state and federal support at a time when all purses are tight.

The coalition, which reunites some of the top names in endurance sports, including but not limited to Ironman, Spartan Race, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and Tough Mudder expects businesses to start closing down without an opportunity to recuperate.

The ESC has addressed an official letter to the US Congress to seek financial support and to hopefully convince lawmakers to include endurance sports as the next round of federal grants released to businesses hit by the pandemic and ensuing lockdown.

Tough Mudder chief executive Kyle McLaughlin has warned of the deep negative impact the novel coronavirus has had on the industry. The effect of the virus can be felt across the entire spectrum of endurance sports, from the smallest 5K events organized locally to the world’s largest events.

Even the most financially adaptable organizations are under a threat of financial ruin. With 850 member organizations and estimated 500,000 people employed by the sport, the industry is worth $3 billion and it has a strong following across the nation with some 30 million tuning in to watch in person or through another licensed channel.

90% of All Endurance Sports Organizations Threatened by Bankruptcy

According to ESC, 90% of all jobs could be lost if the federal government doesn’t step ain to offer a financial relief. With all events coming to a grinding halt, sponsorships have been scarce and participant registration fees non-existent.

While these sources of revenue may seem modest, they lead to billions of dollars and contribute hundreds of millions for various charitable causes, making the sudden disruption of the industry much deeper than the first numbers suggest.

Some of the biggest events to have been already cancelled include the Boston and New York Marathons, but also Tough Mudder and Spartan, to name just a few. The ESC has interviewed the remaining 300 or so endurance sports businesses, with 92% confirming that they would have to cancel the events that are still on the calendar for the rest of the year.

Furloughs and layoffs are already a fact, the ESC has cautioned, with some 90 member organizations feeling forced to let go of employees. Some 82% of all businesses have already been backed by the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but more money could be needed to cope with the pandemic.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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