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Gatorade Leads Endurance Sports Sponsorships, February 12, 2016

By Karl Greenberg

There’s gold in sports sponsorships, and not only in the big three-letter sports leagues. Endurance sports are key opportunities, and brands spend accordingly, per IEG research. The sports marketing firm says sponsorship spending on marathons, 5Ks and other sports involving feeling the burn (or Bern, I suppose, if the race is political) totaled $118.8 million in 2015, up 4.6% from 2014.

The firms says the year-over-year increase exceeds the 4.5% increase in overall sports spending and 4.1% increase in overall sponsorship spending. William Chipps, IEG Sponsorship Report senior editor, makes a very good point: people who participate in these sports have money. “Running’s upscale demographic combined with a growing number of events targeted to niche audiences continues to drive corporate interest in endurance sports,” he said, in a statement.

Sponsorship spending on endurance sports has steadily increased year-over-year. The sports marketing firm’s data shows spend increasing from $95.7 million in 2011 to $102.1 million a year later; $108.4 million in 2013, and $113.6 million in 2014.

IEG says that for the second year in a row, Gatorade was the most active sponsor in terms of number of deals. Fifty-nine percent of properties with a sponsor in the isotonic beverage category reported a partnership with Gatorade. Michelob Ultra was the second most active brand (42%) with Marathon Foto and Fond Memories Graphics tied for third (29%).

The most active corporations sponsoring endurance events last year were Pepsico at 70%, Nestle, involved in 51% of events; then Anheuser-Busch, Clif Bar, Berkshire Hathaway, Marathon Foto, Fond Memories Graphics, Aegon, UPS, and America’s Dairy Farmers and Milk Processors.

The most active categories are endemics, beginning with sports apparel and equipment, and then sports nutrition. Insurance is third, then medical services, sports beverages, beer, hotels, photo supplies and services, consumer electronics and bottled water.