TriEvents has managed HBF Run for a Reason since its inception in 2010. Photo: HBP

TriEvents runs its course

Tuesday, 10 July, 2018 - 13:23
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Events management is proving to be a tough gig of late, with Corporate Sports Australia having been dropped from the City to Surf and, more recently, HBF Run for a Reason events manager TriEvents taking down its shingle.

Majority owned by Seven West Media since 2015, TriEvents was established in 2001 and was the leading sports events management company in Perth when it ceased operating early this month.

TriEvents was the organiser behind HBF Run for a Reason, and contracted by the Rottnest Channel Swim and Busselton Ironman, in addition to operating a number of its own events.

Co-director Dave Budge told Business News that, while he had little control over the decision to cease operating, participation numbers had been gradually declining in recent years as discretionary spend had tightened in a tough economic environment.

“The amount of people who have reached out to say they appreciated what we’d done over the years for sport and that we had a big impact on the community (has been high), so yeah, in a tough week it has been good for the morale,” Mr Budge said.

Seven West acquired TriEvents in 2015 with the intention to help scale the company, he said.

“We had a good reputation and operations experience to deliver events, and the executives who were involved in our acquisition could see the benefit of the marketing reach that they could provide with all their various assets,” Mr Budge told Business News.

“We’ll run the events and they’ll promote them, that was the point.

“You sort of get to the point as a small business of wondering how much further you can take it as you are.”

Mr Budge said HBF Run for a Reason and the Rottnest Channel Swim were the exceptions to the downward trend in participation numbers, with HBF having attracted about 35,000 participants this year.

HBF head of sponsorship and community engagement, Alex Weir, said TriEvents had been behind HBF Run for a Reason since its inception in 2010 and it was disappointing to lose a strong partner.

“We didn’t think it was likely to happen and hadn’t been given the word in advance through Seven West that it was on the cards either,” he said.

Mr Weir said while TriEvents would have been a strong contender for HBF’s next tendering process, its three-year contract had just ended, meaning HBF was not significantly affected.

“We’re confident there are enough options out there and it seems to be that there’s a few coming out of the woodwork at the moment to fill the void,” Mr Weir told Business News.

Corporate Sports Australia operated disability services Activ Foundation’s City to Surf event for about seven years before being dropped in 2017.

A government grant submission by Activ Foundation said that, under Corporate Events Australia’s management, the event experienced a period of declining participation, leading Activ to take the event in-house for the first time in 2017.

Activ chief executive Danielle Newport said about 20,000 people took part in the 2017 Chevron City to Surf.

That number is relatively on par with the 2016 figure, with Perth city participation reported to be about 16,200 and regional numbers typically around 3,000 to 4,000.

At its peak in 2013, the event attracted about 50,000 participants statewide.

But Corporate Sports seems to have landed on its feet despite losing the event, gaining the rights to execute mass participation events out of Optus Stadium, where it will be launching a new Perth Running Festival in October this year.

Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research has been chosen as the event’s beneficiary, meaning participants can opt in to donate to the Perkins Institute when paying for admission into the event, or they can choose to fundraise in the institute’s name.

Perkins head of marketing and fundraising, Paige Gibbs, said about 25 per cent of participants had been choosing to donate.

Perkins partnership manager Kirstyn Johnson said Corporate Sports had chosen Harry Perkins for its broad relevance to the community.

“We do a wide range of things here; we’re doing cancers, diabetes and heart disease, rare genetic disorders, so we’re focusing on the major adult disease killers in WA that have global relevance,” she said.

Ms Johnson said Perkins also had an existing relationship with Corporate Sports, given it had managed its Hawaiian Walk for Women’s Cancer for the past two years.

Ms Johnson said Corporate Sports had big plans for the running festival and it provided a solid branding opportunity for the Perkins Institute.