Road Race Management Announces Results of Sponsorship Study | Sports Destination Management

Road Race Management Announces Results of Sponsorship Study

Jul 05, 2016

Road Race Management announced the publication of its first bi-annual sponsorship study in a recent issue of Road Race Management newsletter. "We undertook this study to better understand sponsorship-related practices of races of all sizes and budgets and to keep a finger on the pulse of the overall sponsorship environment in the running industry," said editor Phil Stewart.

Over 100 race organizations responded, representing races of all sizes from less than 1,000 to over 20,000 participants and with budgets of $50,000 or less to over $3,000,000.

Significant findings of the study:

  • Sponsorship is the second largest source of revenue for most events behind registration income

  • Sponsorship as a percentage of revenue decreases as the size of the race increases

  • 67% of events offer title sponsorship

  • Top sources of cash sponsorship are:

    1. Banks/Credit Unions

    2. Medical/Healthcare

    3. Financial Services/Investment

    4. Insurance

    5. Automotive

  • 52% reported sponsorship increased and 39% said it decreased over the last 5 years

  • 60% of event organizers feel that sponsorship has become 'somewhat more' or 'much more' difficult to obtain over the past 5 years. However, as event size/budget increases, respondents report less difficulty in obtaining sponsorship and are, in fact, more likely to report that sponsorships have become easier to obtain over the last 5 years.

Regardless of race size, distance or budget, the study shows that the race director is most often in charge of obtaining sponsorship. Next in line is an assigned staff person with volunteers; outside agents are used less frequently.

"Overall business and personal connections are the most common method for obtaining sponsorship," said Stewart. "In general races with lower budgets appear more likely to rely on cold calling to solicit sponsorship, while as budgets increase the percentage of races using contacts (personal, business, running) to obtain sponsorship increases," he added.

"It appears from a sponsorship point of view, the sport remains healthy and the trend is up," according to Stewart.

Road Race Management ( is a member-based organization that, in addition to conducting its annual Race Directors’ Meeting, publishes a trade newsletter and several other publications in print and on the web for race and industry officials.

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