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Dead Frog: The Impact Deconstructed

The impact is, indeed, threefold.

RACERS Many racers are losing their favorite obstacle series. BF was not the best employer, however, they always boasted customer satisfaction. We loved their races. Many are pissed. Despite the company’s promise to refund all registrations, some have already booked flights and hotels to race locations (the Michigan race is cancelled mere four days before the event was scheduled). Others have been counting on the upcoming BF races to qualify for the OCRWC, and will have to scramble to find an alternative event. Season pass holders, past volunteers and ambassadors are also affected. In an interview with 3-seconds, Romero Ortiz said that every outstanding obligation the company planned to deliver on. I, for one, would be curious to see how the free race entries and potential future races that the season pass holders would be missing out on will be addressed. For a racer, it always sucks to see a race go away. Yet… please remember that this is NOT ABOUT YOU. Some folks seem to be taking this decision way too personally. “How dare they?”, they exclaim in their righteous indignation. How dare a business restructure a business? . Now, if it WAS all about me, I may be lamenting the fact that I would never get my damn band back.

COMPANY / STAFF BF has been leaking money from the beginning - an issue that they attempted to fix in a series of seemingly half haphazard moves, from laying off all race managers to cancelling Sunday events to bringing on a new CEO. The company has been long criticized for poor management - some disconcerting recurring themes included long hours, low pay and lack of recognition of its employees. While most racers were happy with the events the company put on, I'd argue that for most companies, valuing customers over its staff is usually the beginning of the end. I am sure the federal civil lawsuit earlier this year did not help matters. BattleFrog was sued for patent infringement by ModTruss, a company that specializes in “custom, safe, temporary building solutions”, and promises to build almost anything, anywhere and to hold any weight. They provide modular engineering solutions, such as hinges, mounts and, yes, trusses, and support anything from movie sets to sporting events. here.=">here</a>."> While ModTruss lost the lawsuit, no doubt, was yet another money drain for BattleFrog. At least on the surface, BF did not seem concerned. Until... it was.

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INDUSTRY With one of the big dogs out of running, other obstacle race series get a bit more of the pie. Already, racers are looking at their freed up calendars, and checking out Savage Race, Spartan, Bone Frog, Tough Mudder events. Yet BF restructuring is more than just the outcome of poor management - it signals a bigger shift in the industry. The registrations continue to decrease (a much anticipated BF Toronto 2016 brought in a measly 500 racers). Few weeks ago, Mr. Mouse of the original Tough Guy, announced that January 2017 will mark the last of his signature events, after 30 years running. And last year (or the year before?), Hobie Call announced returning to full-time work after being unable to make a living as an OCR athlete.


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