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Volume 22 No. 12
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Amazon dives in

Online giant taps into endurance space with title sponsorship deal for the Ironman World Championship
As the new sports nutrition retailer for the Ironman World Championship, Amazon looks to reach the event’s more than 2,000 competitors, who consume tens of thousands of nutritional products.
Photo: Getty Images

Amazon, the company that leaves properties salivating more than any other, is diving deeper into sports.


The electronic commerce and cloud computing giant has acquired the title rights to the 2018 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 13, the first title sponsorship sold by Ironman for the event since 2015.


Financial terms of the one-year deal were not available.


In recent years, Amazon has started to spend more in sports, namely via its Amazon Web Services division with Major League Baseball and NFL deals, but its sponsorship spend remains modest relative to its size. With a surge on Sept. 4, Amazon briefly became the second U.S. public company with a market cap of $1 trillion, and its stock price has doubled in the last year.


In the 2017 Sports Business Journal Reader Survey, Amazon was the company most desired as a corporate partner by respondents.


With this latest deal, in addition to renaming the event the Amazon Presents 2018 Ironman World Championship, Amazon becomes the official sports nutrition retailer of the event. Amazon’s dedicated sports nutrition sales channel will carry Ironman branding until December and be co-promoted with the race, a step executives hope will cement the online retailer as the destination of choice for endurance athletes.


The roughly 2,400 entrants in the 140.6-mile swim-bike-run contest consume “tens of thousands” of nutritional products in training and competition, said Stuart Selig, executive vice president of global partnerships for Ironman, which was acquired by Wanda Sports Holdings in 2015 for $650 million. “I think it’s an authentic story for Amazon to connect to from that perspective,” Selig said.


The last title sponsor to the Ironman championship was GoPro, which held the rights from 2013 to 2015. The event has been held annually in Hawaii since 1978.


Amazon also will get media assets during the live broadcast of the race on NBC and NBCSN, as well as during a 90-minute magazine-style show airing Nov. 24. The partners will create custom-branded content for Ironman’s social and digital channels.


Amazon declined to make an executive available for an interview.