USAT's $9 day use extortion

Discussion in 'Triathlon' started by Jason O'Rourke, Mar 21, 2003.

  1. Rather than suffer through more Cyldesdale harping that will change nothing, why haven't we kicked
    around our favorite whipping boy, the USAT?

    With the day use fee at $9 now (annual upped to 30), the sanctioning fee is now up to 25% of the
    cost of some of the cheaper triathlons I've entered. It's nearly half the cost of typical 5/10ks.
    What the hell are the costs that justify such a big chunk of the entry fee going to them? Even for
    the $100 events it's a big hidden cost, along with the Active.com fee.

    I let my membership expire, and I'll be looking towards non USAT sanctioned events this year.
    There's no need for me to be covered in the offseason anyhow. If I find I want to do a bunch in the
    summer, I'll reup. Just like with the increase to 7, it seems aimed at promoting annual membership.
    Here's hoping TriCal gets the idea of going inhouse, just as they did with registrations.
    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
    Tags:


  2. Let's see, those $30 are a real hardship after spending a couple thousand on bikes and bike gear. So
    hard to eke out those extra $30.

    Just wondering, did you vote in the last USAT election? When people outright attack USAT, I always
    wonder if they have tried working with their USAT rep or even talking with someone from the Exec
    Board. And I mean talking with them, not just posting flame bait on some newsgroup.

    Cathy

    On Mon, 27 Jan 2003 21:31:32 +0000 (UTC), [email protected] (Jason O'Rourke) wrote:

    >Rather than suffer through more Cyldesdale harping that will change nothing, why haven't we kicked
    >around our favorite whipping boy, the USAT?
    >
    >With the day use fee at $9 now (annual upped to 30), the sanctioning fee is now up to 25% of the
    >cost of some of the cheaper triathlons I've entered. It's nearly half the cost of typical 5/10ks.
    >What the hell are the costs that justify such a big chunk of the entry fee going to them? Even for
    >the $100 events it's a big hidden cost, along with the Active.com fee.
    >
    >I let my membership expire, and I'll be looking towards non USAT sanctioned events this year.
    >There's no need for me to be covered in the offseason anyhow. If I find I want to do a bunch in the
    >summer, I'll reup. Just like with the increase to 7, it seems aimed at promoting annual membership.
    >Here's hoping TriCal gets the idea of going inhouse, just as they did with registrations.
     
  3. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    jkmsg wrote:
    >
    > The annual fee (or one time use fee) is simular to a tax... no one likes them but everyone likes
    > the benefits (whether the benefits are direct or indirect).

    That's debatable. So far, all I've seen is useless features - benefits are defined by the
    beneficiary.
     
  4. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    Cathy Corning wrote:
    >
    > Let's see, those $30 are a real hardship after spending a couple thousand on bikes and bike gear.
    > So hard to eke out those extra $30.

    Who spends a couple thousand on bikes? Certainly not me! If you're so flush, send some cash my way.

    > Just wondering, did you vote in the last USAT election?

    No, but I did the one before that, before I walked away from membership.

    > When people outright attack USAT, I always wonder if they have tried working with their USAT rep
    > or even talking with someone from the Exec Board. And I mean talking with them, not just posting
    > flame bait on some newsgroup.

    We've all conversed with R. Plotecia here. So far his promises haven't come to fruition.
    Furthermore, why should I have to deal with them? Why can't I do triathlons without kissing their
    ring? When you choose to buy a Ford, do you have to first try to work with GM to get what you want?
    The only conversation they should need is my dollars going to the competition, i.e. non-sanctioned
    races. As the vendor, it is their job to come to the consumer to find out what is desired, and not
    charge the consumer $30 for their ear.
     
  5. Cathy Corning <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Let's see, those $30 are a real hardship after spending a couple thousand on bikes and bike gear.
    >So hard to eke out those extra $30.

    Do you know how many different $30 organizations I belong to? Times have changed and those that
    aren't producing get to go.

    >Just wondering, did you vote in the last USAT election? When people outright attack USAT, I always
    >wonder if they have tried working with their USAT rep or even talking with someone from the Exec
    >Board. And I mean talking with them, not just posting flame bait on some newsgroup.

    I talked with one to get my name off their financials marketing surveys.
    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  6. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    Jason O'Rourke wrote:
    >
    > There's quite a few around these parts. I could probably do a full season without justifying a $30
    > annual, even at $9/pop. So this year, I might just do that.

    If I read the context here correctly, am I to understand that USAT has brokered a deal where only
    sanctioned races will have access to active.com registration services? If that is the case, can
    anyone say "restraint of trade?"

    Maybe it's time to find a new sport.
     
  7. Jkmsg

    Jkmsg Guest

    [email protected] (Jason O'Rourke) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > jkmsg <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >The annual fee (or one time use fee) is simular to a tax... no one likes them but everyone likes
    > >the benefits (whether the benefits are direct or indirect).
    >
    > So you're saying RDs are all Democrats?

    No - hmmm....actually, I don't understand your reference.

    >
    > >Yep, that evil USAT is worthless. So worthless (in fact) that a majority of Triathlons are USAT
    > >sanctioned. So, best of luck in finding non-USAT sanctioned events. There out there, but you
    > >might want to also get a passport.
    >
    > There's quite a few around these parts. I could probably do a full season without justifying a $30
    > annual, even at $9/pop. So this year, I might just do that.

    That's good.

    >
    > Slowtwitch suggests that even without the increase, USAT is likely to run seriously in the black
    > this year. Hope they build up that war chest, because races are pricing themselves out of the
    > market, relying on the current excess demand. USAT's $9 is part of that. Alternatives are
    > appearing - hell one of them posts here frequently.

    Priced out the market? - ...well, maybe only for the poor or frugal (God, I do love capitalism).
    Sometimes it would be nice to see fewer entries. As I see it, fewer entries increases my probability
    of placing (wishfull self-serving statement). Undoubtedly, that is and has not been the case...
    triathlon growth has been exceptional. Which in turn, is good for the sport long term. I think (and,
    I could be wrong) it's only wishful thinking on your part that non-USAT alternatives will dominate
    the future direction of trithlons. (IMHO) I doubt that will be the case since USAT has it's big
    organizational foot in the door way.

    Joe Moya
     
  8. Jaeger

    Jaeger Guest

    > Alternatives are appearing - hell one of them posts here frequently.

    Hello!!!
     
  9. Old Timer

    Old Timer Guest

    Jason, did you get your USAT membership directory, or just the spam and junk mail that was generated
    from the membership list they gathered? What? No membership directory? How could that be? That was
    what we were told the whole impetus for the membership directory creation was?

    How many times were you called to complete your membership information? I received three, and each
    time I told them I didn't want to be in their f***ing membership directory and if I was I'd sue
    them. Three calls!

    That was the final straw for my USAT membership.

    Schwingding
     
  10. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    jkmsg wrote:
    >
    > entries. As I see it, fewer entries increases my probability of placing (wishfull self-serving
    > statement). Undoubtedly, that is and has not been the case... triathlon growth has been
    > exceptional. Which in turn, is good for the sport long term.

    Why? Why is growth automatically good? How long have curling, synchronized swimming, and dressage
    been around? I don't see their enthusiasts weeping over the lack of growth. They're happy with a
    stable sport with limited penetration of the population. Why must everything grow? Bigger is not
    always better, especially when it comes to cultural phenomena, which always seem to be ruined by
    mainstream discovery. Bring in the lemmings, and they will use their numbers to change things for
    the worse, every time.
     
  11. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    Jaeger wrote:
    >
    > > Alternatives are appearing - hell one of them posts here frequently.
    >
    > Hello!!!

    You da man!!!

    Question: In the "famous last words" department, didn't a certain regular poster here make loud
    pronouncements about how, upon his ascendancy to the USAT presidency, things would be different, and
    more ethical? This little squeeze play, trying to coerce rather than entice membership, has me
    recalling Slick Willie's promises to create "the most ethical administration in recent history."
    Yeah, right. This whole thing smacks of Les MacDonald.
     
  12. Brian Wagner <[email protected]> wrote:
    >If I read the context here correctly, am I to understand that USAT has brokered a deal where only
    >sanctioned races will have access to active.com registration services? If that is the case, can
    >anyone say "restraint of trade?"

    I don't believe so, Brian. I just alluded to that many RDs are using active to do their registration
    and billing, which adds more of a fee than it used to. So you can take a $60 race, but after USAT
    and active get their action, it might be 73 or so. Those rising fees gave Trical the motivation to
    do it all on their own. I imagine the investment paid for itself on the first day of use - the day
    WF and Alcatraz opened.

    So are $13 in add on fees going to kill an event? No. People suffer the same when buying airfare, or
    tires (!). But it certainly pushes me away from events I know less about. There are lots of
    overpriced sprint and olympic races out there now, and then there are lots of small, established
    events that are a much better value. And of course, almost every weekend I can do a 5 or 10k for
    $15-25, and I don't have to commit to it more than a week in advance, or less. We're back to the
    problem of 4 month lead times, coupled with no refunds. For $9/30, I'd want the USAT to be working
    to improve these issues. That would be serving me as a member.

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  13. Jaeger <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> Alternatives are appearing - hell one of them posts here frequently.
    >
    >Hello!!!

    Unfortunately, your races are 2500 miles away from me. But your success can serve as an inspiration
    for others. Any failures will serve as valuable lessons learned. At least you're willing to give new
    notions a try.

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  14. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    jkmsg wrote:
    >
    > No.. but you do have to buy insurance (in most states), pay taxes and license plates. Your analogy
    > is not correct.

    Yes, it is. Non-sanctioned races comply with applicable civil and statutory law, just like both Ford
    and GM do.

    > Oh so naive, the vendor's job is to sell what the consumers are willing to buy (you know the
    > "lemming" thing - you said it yourself)... the vendor's seem to doing quite fine without having to
    > find out what the consumer wants.

    Do they? Then why the coercive marketing? If USAT membership is such a huge benefit to the consumer,
    then why try using the day fee to coerce membership? If I do 4 races paying the day fee, I receive
    LESS benefit than a member does, but I pay more. If membership is such a truly great thing, why
    can't it sell itself without such an arrangement?

    > I guess, by economic definition... they must be providing what MOST of the consumer's want or they
    > would have no consumer.

    They have precious few consumers who actively decide membership is of benefit to them. Most simply
    do it because, with the coercive day fee, it's the lesser of two evils.

    > Triathlete's pay USAT fees because they "want to" or "have to" - end of story.

    When it's "have to" that's not giving consumers what they want, it's holding something they
    need hostage.

    > Based on the increasing sell out of triathlon's (USAT sanctioned included) and no competing lower
    > cost organization having been formed,

    Except that there is - Brad Jaeger has created an alternate insurance cooperative for RD's, with
    much success. Many other regions have non-sanctioned races that offer consumers a better value.
    There was a time when people thought IBM had the computer market all wrapped up, too.
     
  15. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    Spyder wrote:
    >
    > What does the nine dollar fee cover? Is it suplemental insurance for the individual? Or does it a
    > liability policy for the RD? I know some venues and government officials want insurance for
    > obvious liability reasons, so the seemingly outrageous cost is most likely a result of our overly
    > litigous society, and not some grand plan of USAT to control the world.

    USAT provides insurance to the RD, but if it costs $9 per participant, then they're losing money on
    members. Claims haven't risen sharply. This is just a way for them to coerce people into becoming
    members, so they can claim to represent triathletes all over the country. It's sort of like the AARP
    telling Congress they speak for millions of people, when, in reality, those people just joined to
    get the hotel and rental car discounts.
     
  16. Just before we shut-down the Triathletes-uk list I asked why the British Triathlon Association
    license, International Endorsement(for racing abroad) had gone up from 6 UK Pounds 9.20 USD to 8 UK
    Pounds 12.27 US Dillars for 2003.

    We were told that the international endorsement covered the cost of the delta between the UK
    liability insurance that the foreign liability insurance. Sadly USAT won't accept this anyway and we
    get to pay the USAT day license as well. I was told offline that the insurance didn't cost anymore
    and the international endorsement was just a levy on those racing abroad. Stiffed and shafted...

    ++Mark.

    "Spyder" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > [email protected] (Jason O'Rourke) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > Cathy Corning <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > >Let's see, those $30 are a real hardship after spending a couple thousand on bikes and bike
    > > >gear. So hard to eke out those extra $30.
    > >
    > > Do you know how many different $30 organizations I belong to? Times have changed and those that
    > > aren't producing get to go.
    > >
    > > >Just wondering, did you vote in the last USAT election? When people outright attack USAT, I
    > > >always wonder if they have tried working with their USAT rep or even talking with someone from
    > > >the Exec Board. And I mean talking with them, not just posting flame bait on some newsgroup.
    > >
    > > I talked with one to get my name off their financials marketing surveys.
    >
    > What does the nine dollar fee cover? Is it suplemental insurance for the individual? Or does it a
    > liability policy for the RD? I know some venues and government officials want insurance for
    > obvious liability reasons, so the seemingly outrageous cost is most likely a result of our overly
    > litigous society, and not some grand plan of USAT to control the world.
    >
    > Keep Training Spyder
     
  17. Old Timer <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Jason, did you get your USAT membership directory, or just the spam and junk mail that was
    >generated from the membership list they gathered? What? No membership directory? How could that be?
    >That was what we were told the whole impetus for the membership directory creation was?

    I replied to an email marketing survey - one that seemed far more interested in my investment
    portfolio than anything related to racing. This was right at the time they were suing those two for
    transferring a race number. Got a response inviting me to take myself off the hit list.

    And then I let it lapse anyway. I didn't do enough USAT races last year to make the annual, we'll
    see this summer.
    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  18. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    Jason O'Rourke wrote:
    >
    > I don't believe so, Brian.

    OK, but from yours and other people's comments, I certainly got that impression.

    > I just alluded to that many RDs are using active to do their registration and billing, which
    > adds more of a fee than it used to. So you can take a $60 race, but after USAT and active get
    > their action, it might be 73 or so. Those rising fees gave Trical the motivation to do it all on
    > their own. I imagine the investment paid for itself on the first day of use - the day WF and
    > Alcatraz opened.

    Thing is, I still have a choice regarding Active.com - I can mail or carry in a registration. There
    is no option on the USAT extorted 'tribute.'

    > So are $13 in add on fees going to kill an event? No.

    Maybe not in free-spending California. Midwesterners are a little more frugal.

    > People suffer the same when buying airfare, or tires (!).

    Not me. <G>

    > But it certainly pushes me away from events I know less about. There are lots of overpriced sprint
    > and olympic races out there now, and then there are lots of small, established events that are a
    > much better value. And of course, almost every weekend I can do a 5 or 10k for $15-25, and I don't
    > have to commit to it more than a week in advance, or less.

    Interestingly enough, HFPRacing had no sanctioning last year, high quality, and I along with others
    commended them on this. Now, this year, their brochure cites sanctioning for all events - this seems
    to suggest some coercion al a what I inferred regarding active.com.

    > We're back to the problem of 4 month lead times, coupled with no refunds. For $9/30, I'd want the
    > USAT to be working to improve these issues. That would be serving me as a member.

    Agreed, but it looks like they'd rather extort the money and say go pound salt.
     
  19. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    jkmsg wrote:
    >
    > Wow!... that's an easy question. Everything must grow because people die (or become unwilling or
    > incapacitated). For example, if 10 people started a sport 100 yrs. ago and no one continued the
    > sport, then it would have no growth. Growth is a necessary evil (It's evil...I tell ya...It's
    > Eeeee-vil).

    Excuse me, but stable intergenerational attrition is not growth. Your hypothetical sport can
    continue indefinitely if each of those 10 people finds ONE replacement before leaving the sport.

    > Didn't say bigger was always better... but replacement is crucial for continued existence - also
    > called propagation.

    Replacement != Growth.

    > Every time?

    Yes, every stinking time.

    > Now that is a pretty harsh claim... would you say the lemmings that rush out of the burning
    > theatre are changing things for the worse,

    Yes, since some will be trampled. An orderly evacuation is preferable.

    > or the lemmings that rushed out and bought light bulbs when electricity was developed,

    Yes; it inevitably led to the development of television, the great brain sapping electronic drug.

    > or perhaps when the lemmings rushed out used their numbers to get a polio vacination ...etc.

    They didn't choose to rush out - they were compelled by law to get it.

    > (...uh, you did say every time)? Yep, they were all ruined by mainstream discovery or by the
    > realization that "fire burns" - yep, CERTAIN things (NOT all things) are not a cultural phenomena

    Bingo - polio vaccine and even electric light are not really cultural phenomena. They are
    technological changes, not aspects of culture. The Japanese have both, yet their culture is
    different from ours.
     
  20. Brian Wagner

    Brian Wagner Guest

    jkmsg wrote:
    >
    > Wrong again... based on your logic (and I use that term VERY loosely) Insurance companies (govt.
    > taxing and licensing agencies included) would NOT (since it doesn't meet your definition - which
    > are found only in your own special library) comply with applicable civil and statutory law. That
    > makes no sense. USAT is an auxilary (some may consider it a leach) necessity to promote
    > triathlons. If not USAT, then an equivalent (albiet at (maybe) a lesser price). But it would serve
    > the same purpose - support. The last time I looked GM and Ford don't support each other. They are
    > competitors... USAT has no big competitor.

    You really need to sit down and think this through: USAT is a vendor. Both RD's and participants are
    consumers. The goods and services provided by USAT are available without USAT's involvement - USAT
    has numerous small competitors, such as Brad Jaeger. USAT seeks a monopoly. If I choose to patronize
    only non-sanctioned races because USAT does not meet my needs, I have no more ethical obligation to
    pursue a dialogue with USAT than I have an obligation to pursue a dialogue with GM before taking my
    business to Ford, or, to make the comparison account for differentials of size, to Maserati. If GM
    is losing business to Ford, or to Maserati, then it is incumbent upon them to seek an understanding
    of why, at their expense. Similarly, if USAT is losing business to non-sanctioned races, and losing
    the business of "sanctioning services" to regional co-ops such as Jaeger's, then it is incumbent
    upon USAT to go to the consumers, at USAT's expense, to find out why.

    > that BS, It's not coercive marketing. It's called wholesale purchasing. You must be one of those
    > consumer types who doesn't want to pony up with the bucks but want first class service/products

    Wrong. I don't want most of the "benefits" of membership. I just want to race. I am forced to pay a
    premium for a tiny fraction of the services, all because I won't lend my name to their roles to
    bolster their legitimacy.

    > Define "precious few"... that is a quantifiable term. I believe that "precious few" is simply
    > wishful thinking on your part.

    Not really. Based on the complaints of USAT officials here about the low response rate at elections,
    the lack of use of the USAT travel desk, etc., it's clear the majority join for no other reason than
    to save on the day license fee. They don't want to be members, they just want to race for less.

    > What is a "benefit" is a very subject term. What some consider a benefit others may not... so,
    > don't make it sound like a majority dislike buying the USAT membership. It may be, but no one
    > knows (including myself)...and specially you.

    As outlined above, there is ample evidence that most would rather not join, but do so to
    save a buck.

    > Yep, it's called a monopoly

    So, you admit it.

    > (or oligopoly at best). It's evil...(I'm beginning to like that word), so get over it...

    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing, or as you put it
    "get over it."

    > Hostage?... you just made a reference to a competitor... your no hostage.

    They have made underhanded efforts to squeeze out competitors.

    > I prefer to think of them as a monopoly (or simular). Many new businesses are monopolies (that's
    > why they are NEW
    > - with new technology, products or sevices - it takes time for competitors to come in and feel
    > the void)

    Certainly, and I'm simply promoting the growth of said competition, while you're defending
    the monopoly.
     
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