A look at USPSA’s finances part 2, revenue streams

In part 1 of our examination of USPSA’s finances, I took a 10,000 foot view of the financial picture of USPSA. Today we’re going to get into the details of where USPSA’s money comes from.


On their 2013 tax return, USPSA lists six streams of revenue. Two of those are are from investments, and are not included in program service revenue. Program service revenue is confined to these four categories, and is where USPSA generates the vast majority of it’s revenue. On the 2013 return, USPSA lists total program service revenue of $1,776,477. Here are there four categories of revenue:

  1. Membership dues: $770,844
  2. Entry fees: $751,913
  3. Advertising: $214,753
  4. Range Officer Seminars: $38,967


  1. Entry fees: $750,667
  2. Membership dues: $732,191
  3. Advertising: $256,947
  4. RO Seminars: $37,911


  1. Entry fees: $753,085
  2. Membership dues: $687,914
  3. Advertising: $247,175
  4. RO Seminars: $35,076


  1. Entry fees: $693,157
  2. Membership dues: $625,981
  3. Advertising: $249,250
  4. RO Seminars: $24,341


  1. Entry fees: $665,014
  2. Membership dues: $582,137
  3. Advertising: $224,737
  4. RO Seminars: $28,785


  1. Entry fees: $689,606
  2. Membership dues: $544,886
  3. Advertising: $218,526
  4. RO Seminars: $25,185

The first trend that jumps out immediately at me is entry fees. In 2013-2011’s returns, it’s basically flat at $750,000. No significant increases or decreases. In 2010-2008’s returns, it’s almost as flat, with a slight dip on 2009’s return. For the most part though it stays right at the high 600k mark. I wonder if the dip in entry fees in 2009 corresponds to the ammo shortage in 2008. Did shooters not attend national matches in as large numbers, or is there another reason? Update: Entry fees also include activity fees that clubs have to pay on a per shooter basis whenever they run a USPSA classifier stage, or classifier match.

Also interesting is the revenue spike from the 2010 return to the 2011 return. USPSA went up 50k, without a significant increase in match fees. Possible theories include rolling the revenue from Steel Challenge into the “match fees” category. Unfortunately, there is no breakdown on which matches are revenue generators. It is safe to assume however that the USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals, and the L/L10/Open/Prod/Revo/SS nationals are all included in that category.

The next trend on the list is good news: revenue via membership dues has been steadily increasing over time. This shows that new members are joining the organization and that existing members are renewing their memberships. You can also note that the increase is relatively stable – around 40k per year in membership growth. Because USPSA increased the cost of a membership to $40 recently, I would expect on the 2014 return to see that number push even higher than the usual ~40k increase.

Advertising revenue is going to be revenue generated primarily by ads in Front Sight, and a much smaller amount from digital ads placed on USPSA’s website. There was about a 40k loss from actual year 2011 to 2012. There were a couple of major changes in USPSA’s administrative section that year, long time Executive Director Dave Thomas retired and was replaced by Kim Williams, and long time editor of Front Sight Robin Taylor also departed the magazine. It’s quite possible that the inevitable turmoil of a leadership change caused some advertisers to shy off; whether this was because of uncertainty on their part or a failure to aggressively pursue ad sales on USPSA’s fault we cannot know. In fact, the revenue generated by advertising on the 2013 return is the lowest since the 2008 return. Revenues peaked on 2012’s return at 256k after steadily climbing since 2008.

Today in part 2 we’ve established three important facts: Revenue from entry fees has been relatively stagnant – there was jump from one level of stagnation to a higher level, but no pattern of consistent increases. Secondly, membership revenue has been increasingly steadily since 2008’s return, at the rate of about $40,000 per year, which works out to slightly over 1000 new members a year, assuming everyone pays for a single yearly membership. Finally, revenue for Front Sight was steadily increasing until 2013, where it fell off to levels not seen since the 2008 return.

The reason we want to look at where USPSA gets its money is so that tomorrow, we can effectively analyze how it spends that same money. You, the shooters, paid over $1.5 million dollars in 2013 in entry fees and membership dues, so an accounting of where that money goes is important.


  1. One thing you are missing from the analysis on fees is whether there have been changes in the fee amounts during those years. Was the increase in membership dues actually caused by an increase in the number of members? Or caused by an increase in the membership dues amount? Or both?

    Same goes for entrance fees revenue. The other thing that impacts entrance fee revenue analysis is whether or not more matches were held which will tell you the average number of entrance fees per match, which to me would be an important metric to determine if the organization is truly growing or now.

    It’s hard to come to a conclusion on the growth of the organization solely from gross revenue.

    1. I am reasonably certain that membership fees were at $35 from 2008 until last year when it went to $40. National matches are another story.

      1. Interesting because the average Dues per Memmber fell from $35 per member in 2012 to $30 in 2013 (based on Dues Revenue) but there was an increase in annual membership. Also interesting is the total membership numbers rose 23% yet dues revenue only rose by 5% from 2012 to 2013 (with the annual fee increase in there too)

        Without the breakdown of the different levels of membership its impossible to tell, but interesting results anyway…

        1. I believe that in 2012 a considerable number of Steel Challenge memberships were rolled into USPSA.

  2. Are the “Entry Fees” just for the nationals, or are they from the activity fees that clubs pay?

    1. You know, that’s a great question. I assumed they were just from nationals, but I totally forgot about that.

  3. Clubs have to pay $1.50 per competitor to run a classifier. $3.00 per competitor for a classifier match (up to 6 I believe).

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