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Unleashing the Potential: Running Events as Untapped Opportunities for Brands


Elevent recently conducted a comprehensive survey of 2,000 adults (18+) in the U.S. designed to uncover the impact of sports sponsorship on consumer perspectives. The results of a recent study conducted by Elevent reveal a dedicated fanbase with a positive perception of sports sponsors, and more willingness to engage with sponsors at events than the general public.

Running as a marketing platform

While brands predominantly invest in professional sports, there exists a tremendous opportunity for them to get involved in running.

Each runner possesses a unique story behind their adoption of the “runner” label. Whether it’s accompanying a friend, pursuing fitness goals (82%), or prioritizing mental health (60%), running can become a defining aspect of one’s identity and social circle.


Reasons to run


Running goes beyond a mere activity or hobby, with a staggering 22% of Americans engaging in it, and an impressive 86% of them doing so at least once a week.

Approximately 17% of Americans have participated in a competitive running race at least once in their lives.

One in five Americans engage in jogging weekly. This level of engagement is not often seen in other sports. Sponsors have an opportunity to capitalize on runners’ deep connection with the activity, extending beyond the one-day racing event.

Runners represent a highly desirable audience for many companies, as they tend to be younger, wealthier, and more educated compared to the general population. Competitive runners, in particular, exhibit these characteristics to an even greater extent.

Runners are more likely to view sponsorships as vital for funding running events (75% agree). A majority believes that sponsors improve the brand image (65% for runners, 61% for competitive runners) and positively impact the overall experience (57% for runners, 50% for competitive runners).


Sponsor perception


Running events present a less crowded field for brands compared to many other sports. This reduced clutter translates to fewer competitors, enhanced brand recognition, and often more flexibility in activating the sponsorship.

Runners constitute an ideal audience for sponsors, scoring high on our custom indicator of “willingness to engage.” They actively seek opportunities to interact with sponsoring brands during running events, irrespective of whether they are casual or competitive runners.


Willingness to engage

A word on the World Marathon Majors

Three out of the six “Majors” series marathons are hosted in the United States: Boston, New York, and Chicago. These cities have a strong running culture, with enthusiastic audiences encouraging runners throughout the 26-mile courses.

The best-performing sponsors are Adidas at the Boston Marathon (22% unaided awareness), Bank of America in Chicago (22% unaided awareness), which recently replaced long-time financial sponsor John Hancock, and TCS for New York (12% unaided awareness).



Elevent conducted an online survey with 2,000 completed responses from adult Americans (aged 18 and above) in Q1 2022. The survey aimed to gain insights into the impact of sports sponsorships on American consumers. It covered a wide range of topics, including the influence of sports sponsorships, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and athlete advocacy, stadium naming rights, sports fan bases, and more. Among the respondents, 437 identified as runners (engaging in running/jogging at least once or twice a year, with the majority running/jogging at least once a week), while 343 identified as competitive runners (having participated in a competitive running race). The full survey results were weighted using Census Bureau data, considering age, gender, race, and region of residence, with a margin of error of ±2% (based on probability, with a confidence level of 95%).

To learn more about Elevent, delve into this survey on consumer perspectives regarding the impact of sports sponsorship, or arrange a demo of our Sponsorship Lifecycle Management platform, please contact us at [email protected].


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