SBJ/February 18-24, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Competitor adds Transamerica, PowerBar as national sponsors

Two months after it was acquired by Calera Capital for an estimated $250 million, the Competitor Group has signed a collection of deals with new and returning partners.

Competitor has signed a three-year deal with Transamerica Insurance in the health/accident insurance category that covers all 83 of the company’s global running and triathlon races, including the full Rock ’n’ Roll running series. It also has signed a new two-year nationwide partnership with PowerBar, a two-year nationwide renewal with Gatorade and a one-year renewal with Jamba Juice across the Rock ’n’ Roll series. The value of the deals was not available.

Scott Dickey, president and CEO of Competitor Group, said the deals came together despite the distraction of the company’s impending sale.

“Management was very involved in due diligence, and was consumed by the activity of the sale, so we didn’t get to spend as much time on new business as we would have liked,” Dickey said. “There was a little bit of a sigh of relief that there wasn’t significant upheaval within the company afterward.”

The signings bring the number of serieswide sponsors of the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series to 13. These deals previously have been valued in the low to mid-six figures.

In addition to the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon deals, Competitor has signed a handful of regional and series partnerships. Outdoor retailer REI has the title sponsorship of the nine-race Muddy Buddy Adventure obstacle course series and the presenting sponsorship of the eight-race TriRock Triathlon Series.

Alaska Airlines has become CGI’s first airline partner, signing on to sponsor the California Rock ’n’ Roll races in Pasadena, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Jose. And health care provider Kaiser Permanente was the title sponsor of the Feb. 17 Rock ’n’ Roll Pasadena Half Marathon.

Ed Walker, chief strategy officer for Transamerica, said the deal allows the company to market its “array of innovative financial services geared specifically to the endurance community.”

The deal allows participants to buy $9 race insurance, which allows them either to obtain a refund or transfer registration to a different event in the case of a race cancellation or an injury. Dickey said approximately 15 percent of registrants to running and triathlon races do not show up because of injuries or scheduling conflicts.

“Very few properties have a cancellation or transfer policy,” he said. “This is going to be a big part of differentiation as we market our properties.”

Fred Dreier is a writer in New York.

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