Competitor Group on the Block

By Pete Williams

Muddy Buddy and other CGI assets are up for bids

Competitor Group Inc., the endurance sports conglomerate that includes the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, Muddy Buddy, the TriRock triathlon series, and a number of prominent industry magazines, is for sale, according to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal.

Falconhead Capital, the equity fund that owns Competitor, has been shopping the firm, according to Kaplan. In a summary of the executive prospectus obtained by SportsBusiness Journal, Competitor expects to generate revenue of $126 million in 2012.

In January of 2008, Falconhead purchased Elite Racing Inc., which puts on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, along with La Jolla Holding Group (Triathlete Magazine), Competitor Publishing Inc., and Muddy Buddy, the bike-and-run obstacle relay series. The new company became Competitor Group Inc.

Riding the wave of interest and growth of endurance sports that has continued despite the economic downturn, CGI has expanded its own events, created one (TriRock Triathlon) and acquired others, including the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C. In June, CGI purchased Women’s Running Magazine and the Lady Speed Stick Women’s Half Marathon Series, both based in St. Petersburg and created by Dawna Stone.

It’s not unusual for a private equity investor to sell after a period of four years, especially given the industry growth that has occurred since 2008.

CGI, perhaps more than anyone else in the industry, has capitalized on the growing interest in half-marathon or “13.1” mile racing. Stone was among the first to recognize the lucrative women’s running demographic and her properties no doubt will add to Competitor’s eventual sales price.

At the same time, Competitor was slow to embrace the booming obstacle race category. Muddy Buddy,  the biggest national series as recently as 2008, contracted from 16 to 8 races this year as events such as Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash cut into its market share.

Kaplan noted that when Falconhead formed CGI in 2008, the company had just 16 races. Today there are 75, making it the largest operator of endurance events in the country.



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Filed under Races, Running

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