Welcome to the heart-pounding world of Mass Participation Sports (MPS), where the adrenaline surges, challenges beckon, and triumphs resonate.

As your guides through this exhilarating terrain, we invite you to explore the vibrant landscapes of cycling, marathons, trail running and more.

But that’s not all—join us in unraveling the secrets to profitability in this ecosystem: enhancing fan engagement, where technology takes center stage in transforming the sports experience. We also dive into the importance of government backing – a crucial foundation with many advantages.


Mass Participation Sports: A Tapestry of Inclusivity and Community Spirit

Mass Participation Sports are more than events; they’re experiences that weave a tapestry of inclusivity, community spirit, and personal triumphs.

These events bring together individuals of diverse backgrounds, ages, and fitness levels, creating a mosaic of shared passion and achievement. In Asia, There has been a massive surge in participation rates for Marathons, cycling races, and trail running, from Jakarta to the Philippines and Malaysia, signifying not just a sport but a cultural phenomenon ingrained in daily lives.

Cycling, with its diverse challenges and scenic journeys, transcends a mere sport; it becomes a community-driven experience. Marathon running, with its dynamic urban landscapes and serene countryside routes, offers a unique adventure and fosters lifelong experiences. Trail Running, with the highest growth rates of all, creates once-in-a-lifetime experiences for anyone daring to ever try it.

But these are the established sports – so where are the disruptors?


HYROX: A Fusion of Fitness and Racing Unleashed Globally

Enter HYROX, a powerhouse in mass participation fitness racing, seamlessly combining running and functional workout stations. Picture this: a dynamic race structure where participants alternate between 1 km runs and challenging workout stations, all hosted in spacious exhibition halls. The result? An immersive and electrifying experience for both participants and spectators.

HYROX isn’t just an event; it’s a global phenomenon. From the next event in Hong Kong this weekend to the grand finale, the ‘HYROX World Championships’ in Nice, France, in June 2024, their short journey is nothing short of spectacular. 

With inclusivity at its core, HYROX features four categories, ensuring everyone, from individual racers to groups of four, can partake in the thrill.


Mass Participation Sports in Asia: A Cultural Shift Toward Active Lifestyles

The past year witnessed Asia as a hub of vibrant mass participation sporting events. From the scenic UCI Asia Tour cycling events to the iconic Tata Mumbai Marathon, the largest in Asia, each event left an indelible mark. The awe-inspiring Great Wall Marathon in China and the 10th-anniversary celebration of the TransLantau trail race in Hong Kong showcased the diversity and magnitude of MPS.

Mass participation sport events are not just gaining popularity; they are becoming cultural phenomena across Asia. The over-subscribed Hong Kong and Singapore Marathons, along with the surge in running events in Malaysia and China, reflect a shift toward a more active and health-conscious lifestyle.

Governments & Mass Participation Sport…a unlikely match

Government support for mass participation sports yields multifaceted benefits. Firstly, it stimulates tourism, drawing participants and spectators globally, injecting funds into local economies and showcasing regional attractions, fostering repeat visits. Secondly, it promotes public health by encouraging sports and fitness engagement, reducing the prevalence of physical and mental health issues, subsequently lowering government healthcare costs. 

Finally, it nurtures community engagement and social cohesion, uniting community members through events, strengthening social ties, fostering belonging, and elevating overall quality of life. In essence, government backing for mass participation acts as a catalyst for economic growth, public well-being, and community development.

Fan Engagement: Transforming the Sports Experience with Technology

Technology’s integration is pivotal, elevating the participant experience through streamlined registration, mobile app communication, safety tracking, and real-time updates. Additionally, data analytics guides future planning, while augmented reality enhances interactive event experiences. Safety and security are ensured, community fostered through social media, and digital engagement opens sponsorship avenues.

This tech-driven approach not only reduces environmental impact but also adapts to evolving participant expectations. Despite pandemic setbacks, the sports tech market thrives, emphasizing the importance of in-depth statistics, unique content, and interactive experiences in reshaping the fan experience.

TrailMe, Link My Ride, and Kinomap lead this transformation, meeting the modern sports fan’s desire for global connection through social media platforms.


TrailMe: The Future of Digitalized Outdoor Experiences

TrailMe stands at the forefront of outdoor sport innovation, seamlessly integrating technology into outdoor activities to create new experiences and benefits for the digital age.

Founded by Rainer Duespohl, an experienced entrepreneur & tech veteran, also serving as the ITRA Hong Kong President; TrailMe reshapes race organization by delivering DIY race tools that enable monetisation and fan engagement at scale. 

The app’s user-friendly interface facilitates effortless event management, while its advanced timing and tracking system redefine the trail-running experience. TrailMe isn’t just about racing; it’s about community building, exemplifying the true spirit of mass participation sports.


LinkMyRide: Connecting Cyclists Worldwide

Enter LinkMyRide, an app designed to make cycling a more connected and community-driven sport. Founded by cycling enthusiasts Jacques Savagnargues and Tom Pidcock, LinkMyRide is a pre-ride organizational platform that allows cyclists to explore, plan, and create group rides globally.

The app’s main focus is to simplify group ride organization, offering features like the Link My Ride Club Portal for cycling clubs, centralizing logistics and enhancing the overall experience for members.

The surge in cycling activity in Asia, particularly in China and Japan, is reflected in the app’s mission to build communities through shared passion, making cycling more accessible and enjoyable.


Kinomap: Uniting Mass Participation Sports at Home

Kinomap, the ultimate app for indoor cycling, running, and rowing: an interactive training platform, that empowers individuals to engage in these sports by discovering and sharing geolocated videos. 

As the world’s largest geolocated video sharing platform(38k+ videos); Kinomap pairs to your equipment (2.5k+ compatible models), and responds to the inclines and resistance seen in the video on your screen, allowing users to experience and visualize official race routes. 

Kinomap now operates B2C and B2B2C business models, partnering with endurance events for official remote participation such as ‘The European Tour Challenge’ across 5 different European destinations. The acquisition aims to bring endurance events to remote participants worldwide through course simulation.

The short-term plans include launching hybrid races, enabling participants to engage in the same race simultaneously from different locations. 


AST Partnership with Mass Participation World (MPW) 2023!

AST is proud to be a strategic partner of Mass Participation World (MPW) 2023, a collaboration that aligns seamlessly with our mission to transform sporting ecosystems in Asia. 

Today, we are pleased to have Chris Robb, Founder and CEO of Mass Participation World, share some insights from his bird’s eye view of the ecosystem:

“Whilst numbers have bounced back in many parts to 2019 levels and in some parts even higher the underlying business model is still under pressure from increased costs and in some places increased government compliance. My sense is that marquee events with strong sponsorship and participants are in a good place but the mid-tier is under pressure in many markets.

The industry was generally shocked two weeks ago when LimeLight Sports a 30 year veteran of the industry in the UK was placed into receivership. They had an enviable portfolio of owned events and retainer clients, delivered award-winning events and were seen as a constant innovator. Asian connection through Y11 who was an investor in the company and I understand purchased their owned events.

I think a challenge and opportunity for the industry is to move from being race and event focused to building year-round engagement whereby the event becomes a milestone on an ongoing journey rather than a stand-alone destination. It’s not an easy fix but a potential to increase retention and also to better engage with governments looking to increase the health and wellbeing of citizens.

Aligned with this is the opportunity for a defined grassroots strategy – some events have kids categories but simply as a “bolt-on” to achieve extra sponsorship and entry fee revenue rather than a deliberate strategy to engage and retain future participants. There is also the added bonus of the opportunity to engage with their parents and families.

I think there are also opportunities around tourism as participants look for unique opportunities which merge travel, culture and activity. I recently hosted a webinar with Worlds Marathons and polls during the webinar showed that 61% of races have no support from tourism agencies either local/international body and 64% of those attending do not have a current strategy to recruit international participants.”


MPW, a driving force in the mass participation sports landscape, is a platform that brings together industry leaders, innovators, and enthusiasts. This partnership signifies our commitment to shaping the future of mass participation sports, fostering collaboration, and sharing insights that elevate the entire ecosystem. 

AST readers wanting to attend Mass Participation World (MPW) will receive a special discount, a testament to our commitment to fostering connections and driving growth.


Shaping the Future of Mass Participation Sports Together

The success of MPS events hinges on two crucial factors: government support, and the integration of technology. As AST are positioned at the intersection of these key elements, we stand ready to provide valuable advice. We can guide government entities on effective strategies to support MPS events, outlining the economic and societal benefits. 

Additionally, we offer expertise to event organisers seeking transformation and technological integration, ensuring easy, engaging, and forward-looking events and experiences for participants and stakeholders alike.

If you have any questions about companies or concepts mentioned in this article, reach out to us today.