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The Global Health-Kick: Increased Interest in Fitness is Changing the Value of Endurance Sponsorship

Exercising and increased fitness have become trends in recent years and are partially responsible for the expansion of the global fitness industry, and specifically the Endurance Events industry. The socioeconomic status of fitness seekers, combined with the potential of Social Media and New Emerging Technologies - open New Opportunities for Sponsors.

The Global Health-Kick

A global study showed that 39% percent of adults over age 18 work out regularly. The main motivations behind exercising are getting healthy and getting into shape. For global fitness seekers, the ideal workout is both fun and challenging.

Endurance Events are not only a fun and exciting way of exercising, but they also offer even more motivation for those wishing to get in shape. Between training for the event and completing the race itself, participants in Endurance Events are able to demonstrate just how far they have come in their fitness journeys.

Between 2009 and 2015 there has been a 13.25% increase in the amount of marathons organized around the world. Additionally, according to the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), participation in unconventional Endurance Events such as: color runs, mud runs, electric runs, night runs, Spartan runs, etc. has increased by 211% in the last five years! Approximately 4 million people participated in nontraditional running events in 2013!

Who is Getting Active and Participating in Events?

Numerous reports show that values such as health and fitness are more important to those of a higher socioeconomic status—these are the types of people registering for Endurance Events. Furthermore, people who are out of shape and looking to reach their fitness goals, participate in events to substantiate their accomplishments.
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In a study submitted to the Faculty of the United States Sports Academy, marathon participation was examined in regard to those running for a charitable cause. Researchers reported that 33% of marathon participants had an annual income greater than $100,000. Runners of a higher economic status were also found to participate far more frequently in marathons not specifically for a cause.

According to the USA Triathlon Membership report, American triathletes have an average income of $126,000. The report also showed that 50% of triathlon participants have an income above $100,000 and 14% of participants have an income over $200,000.

In Belgium, running has become increasing popular. Yet, according to a review of Europe’s expanding sports market, “Running Across Europe,” over 60% of runners in Flanders continue to be of high socioeconomic standing.

What Does This Mean for Endurance Event Sponsorship?

Endurance Events participants are generally of a mid to high socioeconomic standing. This raises the value of Endurance Event Sponsorship significantly. The audience being reached by Endurance Event Sponsors is the ideal market for many brands: people who can actually afford their products and are likely to be inclined to buy their products.
Pic2Go_Sonsored_Photography_1 Moreover, sponsors are reaching another category of people: the high achiever, namely, the athletes who are looking for a challenge to demonstrate their skill and endurance. This is the type of audience that is willing to buy products that will help them reach their maximum potential.

Sponsoring Endurance Events has an especially high ROI as a result of this. Brands are reaching a more affluent audience, but also a more motivated audience. This is particularly helpful for companies like Fitbit, Gatorade and Reebok, who offer products specific to the needs of endurance athletes. However, these are not the only brands that benefit from this target audience. Insurance companies are consistent sponsors of Endurance Events. Hotel brands and bottled water companies are also within the most active levels of Endurance Race Sponsorship. Using an approach that involves creativity and finesse, brands like Gillette, Vodafone, and Samsung are entering themselves into the world of Endurance Event Sponsorship. They are generating huge reach in terms of marketing their products, especially due to the race participants’ use of social media.

Technology and Sponsorship

Social media, innovative live tracking technology, fitness apps, and race photography are now playing a big role in boosting sponsorship.

Social media is the driving factor behind, nontraditional racing events. Facebook events promoting color runs are largely successful in securing participants, and giving exposure to the brands sponsoring the events.

Pic2Go_Sonsored_Photography_3 Under Armour is the sponsor of several fitness apps. “Endomondo,” Under Armour’s free fitness tracking application, allows its users to track all of their workouts and monitor their progress. This is a great tool for training for Endurance Events.

Nike and Adidas, both of which sponsored free race photos through Pic2Go, gained tons of exposure through social media, and drew upon participants that not only had an explicit interest in their products but also had the economic means to purchase these products if desired. Free Same Day Race Photos not only highlighted sponsors but also excited event participants.

More and more people are aiming to get fit and challenging themselves to participate in Marathons, Triathlons and OCR races. The standard endurance race participant is of middle to high economic status. With a fervent global interest in getting into shape and getting healthy, clearly, the value of race sponsorship is greater than ever.

Written by Sarah Marlowe - Marketing and Sponsorship Advisor at Pic2Go

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