Marketing & Sponsorships

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Tie-ins with the Royal Wedding are Match Made in Heaven for Sports Event Owners

16 May, 2018

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is this Saturday, and if you thought the sports and travel industry would miss out on cashing in, you’re (as they say across the pond) simply daft. The big day has inspired both countless leisure travel packages and sports events.

And don’t think event owners in the USA haven’t been working overtime to figure out how to cash in on it as well. In short, if you have an interest (and maybe even a fascinator), they’ll create a tie-in. And while it's easy to characterize this as a female-oriented phenom, it's not something event planners can afford to ignore.

While the couple will actually exchange vows at noon London time (that would be about 7 a.m. Eastern), count on breathless coverage of the festivities on the big day – Saturday, May 19 – to begin around 5 a.m. Possibly the night before.

This could be a challenge, were it not for the ingenuity of sports event owners. Runner’s World, for example, recently published info on The Prince Harry Stag Do Run, to be held the night before the wedding. (So far, no corresponding bachelorette, or hen do, race has been listed as being held in honor of the duchess-to-be.)

The day of the wedding, with its logistical challenges, have posed no obstacles to the savvy sports event planner who created the Royal Run 5K/10K. This event, which can be run any time throughout the month of May, even includes a medal that is sent out upon completion. Bonus round: it’s open to anyone on both sides of the pond and benefits the Princess Diana Memorial Fund.

A second virtual race, the Regal Run, will also be contested throughout May and will also give out a (really spiffy) medal that mirrors a royal crest. (Queen Elizabeth would be so proud). The beneficiary is Rockinghorse, a children’s charity in the U.K. It gives participants the choice of running, walking or cycling.

For those who actually do want to run with a living crowd, there’s always the Chase the 5K Royal Rainbow, a royal-themed color run (or as they spell it in England, colour run). The wedding will be broadcast in real time on a huge screen, and festivities include a family fun day, refreshments and vendors. Those who want the whole immersive experience might consider wearing a fascinator to fit in – or even better, buying a bridal gown at a thrift shop and wearing it to the event. Oddly, it wouldn’t be the first time this has occurred.

For those attending travel tournaments over the weekend, count on early-morning impromptu watch parties in hotel rooms, including champagne. And know there will be plenty of additional celebrations from those who have participated in The Invictus Games, an international adaptive multi-sport event, created by Prince Harry, in which wounded, injured or sick military personnel and associated veterans take part in sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing. And for those who want a (semi) sports-related souvenir of this shindig without having to participate in any activity, there's always the recently unveiled Royal Wedding bobblehead.

The only unfortunate juxtaposition of sports and the royal wedding is on neither Harry nor Meghan’s side, but that of Prince William, sure to serve as the best man. William is president of the English Football Association, and May 19 is the date of the FA Cup final, one of the biggest English soccer games of the year. William attended last year’s match and presented the trophy to the winner, Arsenal.

Count on him not to be there this time around.

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