SBJ/October 24-30, 2011/Events and Attractions

NYC Marathon launches two fan-friendly apps

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The New York Road Runners will launch two new smartphone applications for the 2011 ING New York City Marathon, and both apps direct spectators to areas of partner activation along the race course.

The premium application, which costs $2.99, also tracks participants during the race and includes live video feeds from the NBC4 New York telecast. The free application includes race updates and photos.

NYRR partner Subway will be the presenting partner of the apps. Sources familiar with the app partnership valued it in the mid-five figures.

The new apps, which will be available Oct. 28, replace the club’s first mobile application, which debuted in 2010 for $3.99 and included race updates and live video. The marathon will take place Nov. 6.

“Last year it was primarily a tool for watching runners but it didn’t have a whole lot else,” said Ken Winell, vice president of administration and operations for NYRR. “This year we really set out to improve the experience for all spectators.”

Both applications’ main screen is an expandable street-by-street map of the 26.2-mile course. Along the route, they list 300 “points of interest” such as cheer zones, live music and activation areas for 15 of the race’s 30 corporate partners. Based on a user’s GPS data, the applications will send alerts for special deals at partner points of sale and activation zones during the race weekend.

Dunkin’ Donuts has 12 locations along the route that will offer breakfast deals on Nov. 6, and Coors Light will host 20 race-day parties at bars along the route. Race partners Nissan, Emerald Nuts, New-Skin, Yurbuds headphones, Foot Locker, Tiffany & Co., United Airlines, Asics, Poland Spring, Gatorade, Grana Padano cheese and ING also will sponsor spots along the route.

Subway will offer food deals at seven stores along the route and sponsors three cheering sections, and its logo will appear on the application. Paul Bamundo, director of sports marketing and PR for Subway, said the application provides a means to activate both nationally and locally during the race.

“You can talk to a consumer across the country who is following a friend,” Bamundo said. “If you’re standing along the race course we can talk to you about where to buy breakfast.”

The NYRR designed both applications in-house with help from running website Mapmyrun.com. Winell said NYRR spent about $60,000 on developing the software. He declined to discuss how much Mapmyrun.com invested.

In 2010, about 50,000 users downloaded the application. Ann Wells Crandall, executive vice president of business development and strategy for NYRR, hopes to double that number this year.

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