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HELSINKI, FINLAND — The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) is looking for organizers of WRE, World Cup, EOC/WMOC, and WOC events for 2010 and beyond. Every wonder what it costs a MTBO Event Organizer to get their race sanctioned by the IOF? Neither did we until we started trolling the various documents on the IOF website!

Part of the MTBO America “Grand Strategy” is a 10-year goal to create a highly successful, competitive MTB Orienteering environment within the United States, that wins us the privilege of hosting the first World MTB Orienteering Championships on American soil. But the road to that day is paved with numerous obstacles, least of which is the overall cost associated with receiving the IOF blessing — AKA “organizing rights”.

First are the fees the organizer has to pay for holding a World Ranking Event (WRE). Currently, the 2010 European Orienteering Championship (EOC) sanctioning alone will reportedly cost an organizer US$2,085 (1,500 EUR). Not a large fee if the organizer can draw a large field of competitors. However, week reputation, poor marketing strategies, or even bad weather could make a WRE a nightmare for any event organizer trying to shift their portfolio from private events to sanctioned competitions.

Next we have the cost for sanctioning a World Cup event. This type of event comes with a IOF Council imposed levy of US$1,390 (1,000 EUR) per round for 2010 (reported to be reduced due to short notice given to organizers), with the fee jumping back to US$4,165 (3,000 EUR) per round in 2011. The fee includes full sponsorship rights and it is applied to a series of World Cup events held in the same country, not to each competition. That would mean the sanctioning costs for the entire 2010 World Cup schedule, that includes four (4) separate rounds with approximately 15 competitions divided up between them, will cost event organizers $20,825 USD (15,000 EUR). The 2011 World Cup will cost over $62,475 USD (45,000 EUR). Obviously, not every World Cup event will have the same organizer, but if it did, you can imagine the high costs associated with just simply obtaining IOF organizing rights.

The final event requiring IOF sanctioning, The World Orienteering Championships (WOC), is the most coveted prize for any orienteering event organizer. Not only is the IOF very selective about which country a WOC will be held in, but also particular about which Orienteering Federation will oversee the event and which organizer is capable enough to produce a competition of this size. Currently, the WOC taking place in Israel this year will reportedly cost an even organizer US$13,885 (10,000 EUR) — just for the IOF organizing rights — and does not include the fees paid to the governing orienteering federation and greens fees attached to a venue big enough to support the event.

Granted, with competitor admissions around $27.00 USD (20 EUR) per competition, a typical WRE that draw’s around 100-200 racers, could easily cover the expenses associated with obtaining IOF sanctioning and full sponsorship rights. But it does place the burden on the event organizer to not only build a worthwhile race, but to attract enough racers and sponsors to cover overhead costs, liability risks, and have enough left over for the privilege of receiving the organizing rights from the IOF.

During this worldwide recession, some event organizers may be hard pressed to come up the funding to pay for these increasing costs of doing business in the amateur sports market without raising entrance fees. Hopefully for the organizer, after all is said and done, there is enough profit left over to keep them in business and producing great events!