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Posted: November 28, 2012  

Athletics: Sponsorship Spending on Endurance Sports to Total $102 Million in 2012

Source: IEG

Growing popularity of mud runs, adventure races and other nontraditional events helps fuel increase in spending

CHICAGO, Ill. --- These are good days for endurance sports events.

North American sponsorship spending on marathons, triathlons and related events is expected to total $102.1 million in 2012, up 6.7 percent from $95.7 million in 2011, according to IEG, the world's leading authority on sponsorship.

The increase outpaces IEG's projected 4.1 percent increase for the overall sponsorship industry in 2012 and 6.4 percent increase for the entire sports category.

IEG Sponsorship Report senior editor William Chipps points to three primary factors driving the increase in spending: The growing number of endurance sports participants, an affluent audience base and rising interest in health and wellness.

"Endurance sports enthusiasts are passionate about the sport, and marketers are eager to tap into that passion," Chipps said.

Recent deals range from six-figure naming rights of national event series to four- and-five-figure ties with grassroots events.

New partnerships include Allstate Corp. and the Allstate Life Insurance 13.1 Marathon Series; HumanaVitality , LLC and the Kentucky Derby Marathon; and PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. and the Rock ‘n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.

Another factor behind the increase in spending: The growing popularity of mud runs, adventure races and other nontraditional endurance events. Included in this category are events such as the Dirty Girl and Color Run 5K events to Run For Your Lives, a property that bills itself as "the world's first zombie-infested obstacle race experience."

"The past year has seen an abundance of new endurance sports events, which in turn has opened up new sponsorship inventory," Chipps said.

Sponsorship Spending On U.S. Endurance Sports Events

For more information about IEG and the sponsorship industry, please visit

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