This year, the organization behind the New York City Marathon is adding several new activities-including a running/cycling/ skating event and nationwide competitions-while heightening marketers' involvement through tie-ins.
The club already organizes more than 100 sporting events annually, including races, other running activities and expos. It wants to increase the number of events while adding more marketer and consumer involvement "because participant sporting events are very entertaining, and there's a lot of untapped potential for sponsors to become part of this," said Scott Lange, senior VP-marketing and sales.
NEW TV SHOW
On May 4, the club debuts its first TV program, the local half-hour "Running New York." The ad-supported series will promote running and races in the Northeast.
For the Nov. 2 New York marathon, the club is taking its marketing events to new levels. More than 25,000 runners and 35,000 spectators are expected at the annual four-day expo preceding the race, and this year the expo is being expanded to a wider variety of products and services beyond running. Lifestyle, food and travel promotions, plus product sales and sampling, are being added, and for the first time a $5 admission fee will be charged to expo visitors.
Catalina Marketing is also linking with the marathon for the second time through an in-store supermarket promotion involving more than 1,000 brands for scanner-based discounts and a sweepstakes contest.
Among new club events this year:
The Roll, Ride & Run on April 20 will be staged for runners, bicyclists and roller skaters in New York. The event will be restaged later in the year in 10 cities.
The Trump Plaza Battle of the Running Cities on May 18 in Atlantic City, N.J., will challenge runners from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington to determine which city's runners are fastest. Promotions for Trump Plaza are included, plus tie-ins with local convenience store and sporting goods retailers.
The Fight to the Finish 5K series of coed races will be held this fall in 10 cities to raise awareness of prostate cancer. The event will be co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Cancer Research Institute and Fortune, which is publishing a special national section supporting the event.