ING Takes New Approach as Sponsor to NYC Marathon

2 11 2009

ING: Title Sponsor of the NYC Marathon (http://tinyurl.com/ykrm5m3)Today was the 40th year of the New York City Marathon and the 10th anniversary of its union with sponsor ING, which recently renewed its commitment to the event for at least the next four years, the Sports Business Journal said.

With the exception of its NYC anchor race, ING has yet to commit to its sponsorship agreements for other U.S. marathons including Miami and Georgia. While the financial services company still has time to renew the deals, this could be the start of efforts to rein in superfluous costs and to develop their greatest revenue stream – the New York City Marathon. 

In 2003 ING became the first title sponsor of the marathon in NYC, resulting in a double-digit increase in brand awareness in New York, said ING vice president of brand sponsorship, Scott Rolf in the Sports Business Journal

But the company is ready to shift gears, he said; perhaps due to its first financial loss last year, ING seems to be following the global corporate trend of bypassing traditional marketing schemes to connect directly to consumers.  One specific effort by the title sponsor is the implementation of their Runner’s Nation, a platform which they hope to expand in the coming years, said Terry Lefton in “ING to shift strategy for marathons?” in the Sports Business Journal

The company’s information on Twitter summarizes the goal of their platform: “As a supporter of runners everywhere, ING is happy to provide an interactive forum for you the runners to learn, engage, discuss, & share.” 

ING hopes that direct efforts such as these will be more rewarding than the $2 $3 million dollars the Sports Business Journal estimates the company pays  for the NYC Marathon each year.   But the sponsor only has 291 followers on Twitter – compared to fellow sponsors Asic America’s 1,642 followers and Gatorade’s 3,219 – so if they plan to solely rely on the New York City Marathon and their new marketing plan, they will have to step up their game plan.  And soon.

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