SBJ/Aug. 18-24, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Tough Mudder books a hotel brand

Endurance obstacle racing series signs Radisson to a 16-month deal

Endurance obstacle racing series Tough Mudder has signed a 16-month deal with Radisson Hotels, giving North American rights to the hotel chain through 2015.

A source familiar with the deal pegged it in the mid-to-high six figures.

The deal represents another step forward for Tough Mudder, which added supplement company Met-Rx, technology firm Garmin and Monster Energy to its self-titled “official badass” partnership category this year. The category also includes Wheaties, beer maker Dos Equis, the U.S. Army and Bic razors.

More than 700,000 participants tackled the Tough Mudder challenge last year.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

“It’s another well-known national brand that has seen value in our property and fan base,” said Dan Weinberg, vice president of partnerships at Tough Mudder. “We believe Radisson will add to the overall experience.”

Final inventory and activation details are still being ironed out, Weinberg said. He predicts Tough Mudder will steer its participants toward nearby Radisson hotels for pre-event breakfast meetings and post-event parties, and that Radisson will offer group rates to Tough Mudder participants.

Weinberg said Radisson will receive branding space in each event’s finish-line festival and advertising rights for the series’ marquee obstacle, “Everest,” a wooden quarterpipe structure that participants must climb.

“Everest gets a lot of digital impressions and Facebook shares,” Weinberg said.

Tough Mudder attracted more than 700,000 participants in 2013, and in 2014 the series is scheduled to hold 38 events in North America. The company has grown consistently since its founding in 2010.

The growth has placed Tough Mudder among the few endurance properties that garner attention from mainstream sponsors. Weinberg said the company is hoping to sign deals in the automobile, consumer electronics and insurance categories.

“We have ambitious plans,” he said.

Stephanie Lopato, brand manager for Radisson Americas, said the partnership represents a new marketing direction for the company. The Minneapolis-based company has no sports deals other than a local deal with the Minnesota Vikings, she said.

Lopato said Radisson hopes to use Tough Mudder to attract young, active customers. The company intends to promote its partnership on the hotel website, across social media and through in-hotel messaging.

“Heads in beds is a focus, but it is not the primary focus,” Lopato said. “We want to get Radisson in front of consumers who haven’t thought of us or stayed with us recently.”

Fred Dreier is a writer in Colorado.

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