Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Business of Marathons

This Washington Post article provides a look at the business behind bigtime marathons. It describes the ways race officials have had to increase the money to attract the top runners. For example, in yesterday's London Marathon, the male and female winners recieved $55K. However, there's a lot more that's not entirely public. The superstars like Paula Radcliffe can earn much more in appearance fees. Overall, Radcliffe may have earned around $1M yesterday. The article reported that the London race budget for the elite runners this year was at least $2.6M.

Boston's race officials don't seem to want to get into a bidding war with London. The article mentioned that Boston offers $575K in total prize money and bonuses. However, Boston's race officials did not provide details on their budget for the elite runners. You can tell by the top 100 times that London is attracting many more of the world's top runners these days.

This article also had interviews of race officials of both the Chicago and New York Marathons. The Chicago Marathon likely has the biggest budget for the elite runners: it has between $2M and $2.5M. New York may be in second with an elite athletes budget in the low seven figures. New York was able to attract Radcliffe in 2004, and according to the race director "She gave us a lift unlike anything else we've done in the last five years."

The article also describes some of the debates over whether this growth in appearance fees is a good thing. It's really only benefiting the top tier of runners. Boston's race director would prefer to see the money growth in prizes rather than appearance fees. However, the article ended with this quote in support of appearance fees: "It's not just the times they run, it's the image they bring to an event."

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  • Is it good for the NFL? or the NBA or MLB or any other professional sports?

    At least in running (or rather road races), you can say that you ran the same course, on the same day as the WORLD record holder... something you can't do in other sports

    By Anonymous terry from knoxville, at 7:02 AM  

  • Yea, I guess it's pretty much the same for all pro sports.

    So I guess races with a decent chance at a WR will attract more runners. I have to admit, a race with a WR would make my run more memorable.

    By Blogger Ken, at 7:25 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Dunwoody Ga, at 10:04 AM  

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