Negative Split Productions Case Study

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This Case Study focuses on RunSignUp Race Websites, the Referral Program, and the RaceDay CheckIn Mobile App. 

Download PDF Version of the Case Study

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About Negative Split Productions and RunSignUp

Tony Sapp is the owner of Negative Split Productions, and 50% owner of Houston Race Series, LLC, a collaboration with Aaron Palaian’s Onurmark Productions. Houston Race Series, LLC owns and operates the Run Houston! Race Series and the Bayou City Half Marathon Series.

The Houston Race Series Races were moved over to RunSignUp from another registration platform in June of 2016. In their short time on RunSignUp, they have taken advantage of a number of opportunities afforded by RunSignUp’s comprehensive suite of tools.



In Depth: Using Race Websites to Relay Information Seamlessly

Negative Split Productions takes full advantage of the customization options for RunSignUp’s free websites, with 3 key results: (1) keeping runners informed, (2) reducing customer service, (3) maintaining brand integrity. They achieve this is a few ways:

  • Extensive custom pages with logical menu-order:¬†The pages cover virtually picture4every question that a runner would have, including Packet Pickup Info, VIP All Access Details, Spectator Instructions, Award Breakdowns, and more. Additionally, sub-menus organize information while keeping a clean interface.
  • Integration with Series Websites:¬†To connect the races within each series, there is a series website with information that is relevant to all races; each individual race also has it’s own website on RunSignUp. To ensure that runners can find series information on the individual websites, as well, specific tabs (like the Series Charity info) simply link back to the series website.
  • Page Branding:¬†Each page has its own logo and theme for the specific event; series branding is maintained with a common page header.
  • Participant Management Access:¬†Each event page includes tabs to¬†find a participant, review the refund policy,¬†and¬†manage registration¬†(i.e., errors in entering participant info, changes in t-shirt size, etc) directly from the website. This consistent, easy access to participant data reduces customer support over time as runners become accustomed to managing their own data.

“Managing your registration has worked out really well for us – it’s an education process, but getting people to do it on their own is a really big time saver. It reduced the amount of work I had to do to answer emails, etc.” –¬†Tony Sapp

Run Houston! For Free: The Referral Program

The Run Houston! Race Series is using the RunSignUp Referral Program in a creative way by branding it as a “Run Houston! For Free” Program. In their pilot test of the program, they are offering a $10 refund every time a runner gets 5 runners to register with their referral link. The results from their first try:


In spite of a late start to the program (registration was not opened on RunSignUp until June, and marketing for the Run Houston! For Free program kicked off shortly before the race),

Referrals brought in 122 registrations with only $60 of refunds given. Each registration acquisition cost the race only 49 cents.

Over time, they will watch the ROI and if the program seems to stagnate, may try increasing the amount of refund given.

Speedy CheckIn with RaceDay CheckIn Mobile App

Previously, check-in for races was done by downloading a participant list, assigning bib numbers, and using a picture6google sheet for check-in. Runners would need to know their bib number to check in quickly.

With the RunSignUp Mobile App, the race sent out QR codes for each registrant to speed
check-in. With 60-70% of runners bringing their code and a simple search option for the remaining runners, a single volunteer was able to check-in almost 500 runners in the first 90 minutes of packet pickup.

In addition to speed, the check-in reports made it quick and easy to predict the number of runners who still needed to pick up bibs on race morning, and helped the race to staff volunteers accordingly.

If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us
…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

Google Chrome Apps End of life – RunSignUp Chrome Check-In App Phase Out Plan

Google recently announced that they “will be removing support for packaged and hosted apps from Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux.”

We will be removing the RunSignUp CheckIn Chrome App from the Chrome Store by the end of September, 2016. Note the web version of this app will continue to be available.

The new RaceDay Native App on Android and iOS remains our strategic direction and should be the preferred choice for customers wanting to do check-in with our technology.

Note the big feature the Chrome App had was printing. This means we will not be supporting printing in our Check-In apps. We have not seen a large interest from customers in this feature, and we have seen a lot of instability in supporting printing from the base technology of the operating systems for apps – for example the Chrome App.

RaceDay CheckIn Update

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 9.51.02 AMWe have released a new version of the RaceDay CheckIn App on Apple and Android. We made major improvements to memory management and searching to improve performance for large 10,000+ person check-in environments.

This update also included some other minor improvements based on user feedback like an improved warning if bib number is not entered (and is set up as being required).

This release also updates to our new RaceDay Go logo and branding.

Check-In App – Now Native for Apple & Android

image2[1]We have another new version of our Check-In App that runs as a native app on Apple and Android. This joins our long available Online Check-In App and our more recent Check-In Chrome App. For those counting, this is our 4th Generation after our initial Check-In App in July, 2013 (yes, life moves pretty fast at RunSignUp). Here are the major differences:

Online Check-In App: Good if you want instant syncing with the Cloud Database. Since it is just a web browser app, it needs fast and consistent Internet access. We see many running stores using this for smaller packet pickup for races.

Check-In Chrome App: Good for when you have inconsistent Internet, with some nice new features around label and receipt printing. See the Hardware Requirements here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 3.29.36 PMNative Mobile Check-In App: This is our latest release described in detail below.

Built-In Camera Support. Phone cameras can be used to read bar codes and QR Codes that are sent to runners. The QRCodes read in under 1 second so you can check-in people fast. And it reads your participants phones as well.

Fast Check-In. Send your participants the confirmation numbers in QR Code and barcode formats with our free email system. Then when they come to your event, check them in fast with the built in camera support. Here is a quick video example:

Waiver Signatures. Participants who have not signed their waivers can sign the phones and tablets you use for check-in. Here is an example:

IMG_1253You need to download the app to your phone or tablet first. Search the Apple or Android store for RunSignUp and select the Check-In App.

Once it is installed, you will see a list of races. You need to set your race to be accessed by the Check-In app by setting a password (we do this so participant data is secure). Once you set a password and appropriate dates, you will see your race appear in the Check-In App.  Enter the password and you will have access on that device.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 9.52.06 AM
Check-In App Setup on RunSignUp 

IMG_1248Once you are in a race on the App, click on the menu button at the top left to configure the App. There are a number of options including the Quick Check-In reviewed in the video above. Another important top level option is Locking the App – this prohibits participants and volunteers for changing the settings. Simply enter a PIN to lock it (and unlock it).


image1There are a number of options for configuring the Check-In App under “Settings”. Here is what it looks like on an iPad:

  • Sort Order. By Last Name, First Name or Date.
  • Events. Select which events are showing. This can be useful if you have different Events (Marathon, Half, 10K) check-in at different lines.
  • Bib Number. Set with Skip, Optional or Required.
  • Group Bib Number.
  • Require Waiver. If a waiver has not been signed during registration, the app does “finger signature” right on the phone or tablet and saves to RSU in the cloud. One of the above videos shows this.
  • image2Linked Registrations. Turn this on so that the app shows all the people who registered together.
  • Pick Fields to show. Including Name, Event, Check-In Status, Bib#, Chip #, Payment status, Waiver Status, Team Bib, Team Name, Age, Gender, Email, Address, Registration Date, Import Status, Giveaway, Registration Notes, Addons (Pick which ones), Custom Questions (pick which ones).
  • Quick Check-In Mode. This allows you to really fly thru check-in – similar to how tickets are taken at a concert or sporting event.
  • Prevent Duplicate Bibs. Note this can not be assured since the apps need to sync with the cloud. But it will work within an individual phone/tablet.
  • Allow Un-Check-Ins.

Once you set your phone/tablet up, you can save it as a Preset to the RSU Cloud, and then other devices can reuse the setup:


The Check-In process is pretty simple. Find the participant and press the big green Check-In button. If something is missing like Bib # or Waiver, those pages automatically appear. You can watch the video above to see those examples.

This makes the Check-In app very simple to use for volunteers.

To review the process:

  1. Enable Check-In in RunSignUp and set a password.
  2. Download the app to your phones and tablets.
  3. Find your race, and enter the password.
  4. Configure the setup you want in one phone/tablet.
  5. Share that setup with the other phones/tablets.
  6. Run your volunteers thru a few sample check-ins and begin receiving your runners!

And of course, you can see the reports on how the check-in is going: