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Tax Day and Easter Mean Big Returns for Sports Events

5 Apr, 2017

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Here comes Peter Cottontail AND the tax man… with planners of sports events not far behind, ready to make money on novelty tie-ins.  With the traditional tax deadline of April 15 falling on a Saturday (and the Saturday before Easter to boot), plus the beginning of spring weather in many parts of the country, there are plenty of obvious ways to bring humor and fun to sports.

Because Saturday isn’t conducive as a tax day, the IRS has moved the 2017 filing deadline to Tuesday, April 18.

While Easter is a religious holiday, it is still caught in the commercial tide. Running in the USA’s calendar of events for that weekend shows a marked dip in the number of running events planned for Sunday – but makes up for it with a burgeoning number of races on Saturday. Many have titles that include key words such as Bunny, Easter, Rabbit, Cottontail, Ham and Egg. Spring terms such as Blossom, Spring, Bloom and more are also in evidence. You’ll even find a few with titles that include Tax, File and IRS.

The opportunity to dress up and participate in a race is there, at least for Easter. After all, bunnies are an easy target, costume-wise, but how does one dress as a tax return or an IRS official? Answer: It doesn’t matter because the promo opportunities are still there. Witness the brilliant Run From the Tax Man event put on by Silver Circle Sports Events in Wisconsin.

The fact that youth athletes generally have their spring break over the Easter holidays has also lent itself to the ability to travel for tournaments and sports events. Basketball, soccer and ice hockey are all examples of sports hosting tournaments where families will be traveling with their children – although baseball, softball and lacrosse events are also plentiful.

And the money is there to spend on travel to sports events. According to the National Retail Federation, the following statistics were recorded:

Regarding April 15 (tax day):

66: Percentage of Americans who expected to receive a tax refund this year

10.7: Percentage who expected to spend their refund on vacation

7.6: Percentage who earmarked it for ‘splurges’ (Note: The largest percentage of respondents (48) planned to put the money into savings, while just above 35 percent planned to use it to pay down debt)

Regarding Easter spending, there are a number of factors that come into play, but overall, the NRF says people will be spending more; this is attributed to the late date of the holiday.

81.3: Percentage of Americans overall who plan to celebrate Easter

$152: Per-person spend Americans are estimating for Easter

18: Percentage who plan to spend more on Easter than they did last year

$18.48 Billion: Amount Americans planned to spend on Easter in 2017

While it’s impossible to forecast people’s projected sports-related spend of their nest egg (see what we did there?), it’s likely they’ll be enjoying those with seasonal tie-ins. Many spring sports events will also include activities for families by hosting Easter egg hunts, photos with the Easter bunny and more. Among the most notable events are family-friendly on-ski egg hunts at two of Colorado’s big ski resorts. There are 50,000 eggs hidden at Copper Mountain in Colorado, and 8,000 hidden at Breckenridge. (Non-skiing family members or those too small to ski yet will enjoy the downtown Breckenridge Easter egg hunt.)

Nobody, however, seems to be offering adult activities that include assistance with late tax filing. While it’s likely too late to tie-in for this year, the potential exists for sports events in April of 2018 (when the 15th falls on a Sunday – meaning assistance at those Saturday events will be extra-important). In addition to hosting free (or low-cost) tax assistance with forms, it’s an opportunity for sponsorship from CPAs and other professionals, who could raise their profile in advance of, and at, the event.

And by the way: Next year, Easter falls on April 1. That’s right: April Fool’s Day.

Let the brainstorming begin.

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