The world’s most popular marathon will now be known as TCS New York Marathon from this year.
India’s largest technology solutions company – Tata Consultancy Services (popularly known as TCS) – has become the title sponsor of the premium running event which attracts 50,000 runners. The race dates back to 1970 when 127 runners raced four laps of Central Park.
The New York City Marathon offers advertisers an opportunity to reach affluent professionals, as the event attracts 2 million live spectators and 330 million viewers on television.
The previous sponsors, ING, did not renew the contract, as the American banking and insurance giant re-organised their business. “As part of our rebranding effort, we will be focusing our sponsorship and philanthropic efforts more directly on supporting financial literacy,” an ING spokesperson told the New York Times.
The New York Road Runners (NYRR) – the organisers of the racing event, signed TCS as the title sponsor for the next eight years beginning 2014.
This year’s race will be held on Sunday 2 November, and the registration for runners close as early as 18 March. The event is expected to attract more than 100,000 applications from runners.
It’s not just the runners and viewers that TCS wishes to target. The US$11.6 billion tech giant has a very young workforce – the average age of its 300,000 staff is 27-28 years. TCS runs Fit for Life programme in 44 countries for its employees – the fitness programme has every employee registered already. TCS expects its employees to complete 5 million kilometers this year.
The Indian tech giant has a commitment to investing in the health and wellbeing. “We think that that is fundamentally important even for students to study well and have a better career and so on. This is the theme we have taken,” N Chandrasekaran, chief executive of TCS, said in a television interview.
However, building brand recognition is at the core of this relationship. “As we become larger and larger, it is very important for people to know what we stand for, because people come across TCS all the time.”
On its part, the New York Road Runners is keen to strengthen the technology tools used for the event, with the help of TCS.
TCS is creating mobile training and runner tracking apps and software for real-time race results and on-site information. TCS has been a technology consulting partner for NYRR since 2010.
“There is a lot of technology that goes into running a major marathon and in getting people healthier and fitter all year round and what a difference it will make for TCS when people see that we become the most technologically advanced marathon in the world and that we have a lot more people running,” said Mary Wittenberg, chief executive of New York Road Runners.
The new TCS New York City Marathon website is designed to help runners plan their race day, and use tailored coaching plans through the online training programme and information about how to participate as part of a charity team, such as NYRR’s Team for Kids.
TCS has also sponsored similar Marathon events around the world including Amsterdam, Berlin, and Mumbai – the Tata Group‘s home city.