How New York Marathon partner TCS came to dominate running sponsorships

On Sunday, thousands of runners will again take to the streets in the five boroughs for the New York City Marathon. The 51st edition of the race will run at full capacity – 50,000 runners – for the first time since 2019. And like every year since 2014, the NYC Marathon will be known as Tata Consultancy Services (CDS).

TCS, a Mumbai-based technology and consulting firm, joined in 2012 as a technology partner with NYRR. “At the time, ING was the title partner of the marathon, and that agreement was expiring,” said Christine Burke, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and running products at NYRR. Sportico. “The organization went through a thorough process to evaluate potential partners, and TCS rose to the top.”

And in 2021, TCS, with a market cap of over $26 billion, renewed its sponsorship agreement with New York Road Runners (NYRR), the organizing company of the NYC Marathon, for eight years. It also announced last summer that it would spend up to $320 million ($40 million per year) on marathon sponsorships over the next eight years, roughly the same amount Crypto.com has. paid annually for the naming rights of the former Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The return on this investment in endurance racing has paid off. According to a Brand Finance study, the company’s brand value increased by $1.844 billion in 2021, a 12.5% ​​increase more than a year.

TCS first got involved in marathons in 2008 as an associate sponsor of the Mumbai Marathon. Since then, he has added title sponsorships for the New York City Marathon and the London Marathon, two of the World’s Big Six Marathons, as well as the Amsterdam Marathon, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Lidingöloppet, the largest cross-country competition in the world, held in Sweden.

But the company’s interest in racing “actually started long before 2008, and it started from the top,” said Michelle Taylor, global head of sports sponsorships at TCS. Sportico.

TCS entered the racing space when CEO N. Chandrasekaran discovered he had serious health issues. “He initially started walking as recommended by his doctor,” Taylor said. “And that walking routine quickly turned into a running routine.”

Seeing the physical and mental benefits of running, N. Chandra, as he is known, decided to start a health and wellness initiative for his employees. The company has implemented a program called Fit for Life, a playful health app.

The CEO expanded the conversation. “If it does so much for our employees, what about our customers?” Taylor said. “And that’s really how the TCS came to endurance racing. They began to consider endurance running sponsorships as a way to support these activities in our communities.

The first was the Standard Charter Mumbai Marathon, which has since become the Tata Mumbai Marathon. Next comes the TCS Amsterdam Marathon. “And then we started doing some little non-title sponsorships in Boston and Chicago. And in 2012 we started our first year as a partner with the ING New York City Marathon,” Taylor said. now more than 14 different racing sponsors around the world in different categories, from title to technology.”

TCS is part of the Tata group which operates in 55 countries around the world. The company’s net income rose 8.4% to $1.27 billion in the three months ending Sept. 30 from a year earlier. Operating revenue increased 18% to $6.7 billion.

Marathon sponsorships have not only enhanced the brand value of TCS, but they have also allowed TCS to build relationships with the C-suite executives of Fortune 500 companies. This year, more than 50 of these executives will run the marathon with the TCS team, including Becky Frankiewicz, Chief Commercial Officer and President of Manpower Group. “Training for the New York TCS Marathon is a big part of our culture at Manpower Group, and running is an ideal partner for business,” Frankiewicz said. Sportico. “This year, our team includes representatives from across the company and around the world.”

Although based in India, TCS generates the majority of its revenue from the Americas market, according to Statista, bringing in around $12 billion from the region.

The company plans to add more races to its portfolio. TCS has been the official technology partner of the Chicago Marathon and the Boston Marathon since 2010. While Bank of America has been the title sponsor of the Chicago Marathon since 2008, the Boston Marathon will be without a title sponsor after the 2023 race, with John Hancock ending his sponsorship.

“We look forward to an exciting new era in Boston Marathon history as we seek to partner with our next major sponsor,” said Chris Lotsbom, communications and media manager for the Boston Athletic Association. Sportico. “We often say the Boston Marathon is more than just a road race, it’s a community experience that welcomes the world to Boston every April. From 2024, we will be able to share this memorable experience with our next main sponsor. »

Whoever ends up becoming Boston’s title sponsor, TCS is in the sport for, well, the long haul. “I think our love for this space is certainly clear, right?” Taylor said. “We have so many opportunities in the partnerships that we have right now. We have just taken over title sponsorship of the London Marathon this year. But we also believe there are more opportunities that we haven’t even fully realized with our existing partnerships and platforms.

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