By Barry Janoff
April 14, 2015: Following a winter in which Boston and the surrounding areas experienced a record 108+ inches of snow, the 119th Boston Marathon could not have come soon enough.
Fans and participants will be out en masse — as will a full roster of marketing partners — between now and race day on Monday, April 20, attracted by such events as the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo, the Boston Athletic Assn. 5K and a weekend series at Fenway Park between the Red Sox and visiting Baltimore Orioles.
All told, the Marathon and surrounding Marathon-related events will bring an estimated $181.9 million in spending impact to the Greater Boston region, according to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
That includes some $101.8 million in spending by 30,000 participants and their guests, $30 million in spending by spectators and visitors, $15 million in sponsor and media-related spending and more than $10 million in spending by the Boston Athletic Assn., the group that oversees the Boston Marathon and other events throughout the year.
“The B.A.A. and Boston Marathon welcomes participants, spectators, and media members from around the world each April, nearly all of whom will patronize Greater Boston’s shops, restaurants, hotels and local businesses,” Tom Grilk, executive director for BAA, said in a statement. “This year we look to build off of the great success that was the 2014 Boston Marathon, celebrating the spirit of Boston and unity of our community.”
This year's race, the second anniversary of the tragic events of the 2013 Marathon bombings and related deaths and injuries, comes after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty of all 30 charges against him, but before the penalty phase of the trial begins. That process was held off by the court until the day after the Boston Marathon.
The jurors were instructed to avoid going to the Boston Marathon itself.
“As you know, the Boston Marathon is not just a matter of local but of national and international interest,” U.S. District Court Justice George O’Toole told the jurors, according to local media reports. “Do not attend the Boston Marathon.”
(A separate trial in the area involving former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez came to an end on April 15 when a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.)
It also comes at a time when local and state officials — and an increasingly vocal public-at-large — are still deciding whether or not to officially move ahead with a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, following the nomination of Boston by the U.S. Olympic Committee earlier this year.
According to GBCVB, there will be more than 30,000 official participants in this year's Boston Marathon, including more than 5,400 participants from 86 countries outside the U.S. In addition, more than 1,200 members of the media from more than 200 outlets are expected to cover the Boston Marathon, "providing the Greater Boston region with unparalleled international exposure."
That is all good news for the Marathon's roster of marketing partners, which includes John Hancock, now in its 30th year as principal sponsor of the race.
Among other activations, the insurance firm has placed some 500 banners throughout Boston and the surrounding regions, which read, "There's Only One Boston."
New to the roster is global health care company Abbott, which also recently signed on as title sponsor for the World Marathon Majors. In addition to Boston, WMM members include the Tokyo Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the TCS New York Marathon.
Among its marketing, the company is hosting the Abbott Runner's Lounge on the Boston Marathon Facebook site.
Marketing partners also include adidas, Gatorade, Poland Spring, AT&T, Samuel Adams, JetBlue, Stonyfield, Clif Bar, Tata Consultancy Services (title sponsor of the New York Marathon), and such media partners as Universal Sports Network and Boston Magazine.
"All told, the Marathon and surrounding Marathon-related events will bring an estimated $181.9 million in spending impact to the Greater Boston region."
Unofficial marketers are also staking their claims in and around Boston and the race, including significant multi-platform activations from Boston-based New Balance, Nike and footwear companies Saucony, Brooks and Asics.
"Marathon running represents people living fully, from the seasoned marathon runner to the casual runner, and everyone in between," Elaine Leavenworth, svp, CMO and external affairs officer for Abbott, said in a statement. "Through our partnership with the Boston Marathon, we'll celebrate the achievement of the marathoners, who embody the idea that good health is the starting point for everything we set out to accomplish in life."
Their also will be enhance security in and around the race course, which has been declared a "No Drone Zone" by the Boston PD.
Also new this year for adidas will be Boston Marathon Runbase, a retail destination that is a collaboration among the Boston Athletic Assn., Boston-based retailer Marathon Sports and adidas. It will be located on Boylston Street, several blocks from the finish line, and is scheduled to open on the Thursday before the race.
In addition to adidas gear and footwear, it will have a section displaying historic artifacts from the Boston Marathon, including items from the 2013 race when it was impacted by a pair of bombs that exploded near the finish line.
According to adidas, which has five similar destinations worldwide, the location will have showers and a changing room, available to people who sign in and are given a locker room key. It will remain open year-round after the race.
"There is only one Boston Marathon and as we witnessed last year, we are stronger than ever before," James Gallagher, general counsel and chief administrative officer for John Hancock, said n a statement. "The Boston Marathon is built on a foundation of courage, determination and strength of literally hundreds of thousands of people . . . runners, spectators, volunteers, organizers, public safety and community officials. Our collective participation in the Boston Marathon each year demonstrates that our determination to overcome challenges knows no bounds."
Regarding the 2024 Olympics, among the cities moving ahead with their official bid process are Paris, Rome and Hamburg, with Boston potentially in the mix. The International Olympic Committee has set Sept. 15 as a deadline, with a vote scheduled for September 2017.
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