Nike Joins Bank of America Chicago as Official Footwear and Apparel Sponsor!

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The press release below, announces the worst kept secret in our sport-Nike and Bank of America are the new sponsors of the Chicago Marathon, now known as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Face it, when the folks at Nike want something, they do have a fairly large check book. The sponsorship of New Balance of Chicago ran out, and Nike made the move and very bold one at that, educated word on the street suggesting that Nike's sponsorship of Bank of America Chicago is the most expensive sponsorship of footwear and apparel in North America, reportedly more than doubling the amount any other marathon has received for such a deal.

Nike's sponsorship of this event, rumored for months, is the first entree for the Swoosh back into a major marathon in the U.S. that they did not develop. As of today, adidas has a long time deal with the BAA Boston (as well as Flora London, and -real, Berlin), ASICS has ING New York, Flying Pig and Big Sur, Saucony has Honda's City of LA Marathon, New Balance has the Elite Racing Marathon series.(I also believe that Spira has worked out a deal for the WDW Marathon and Half Marathon).

It is one thing to sponsor a race. It is another to do it effectively. Sponsoring footwear and apparel in a major race is a mulit million dollar endeavor. From marketing, to sales promotion, to product, to marketing materials, major races see their footwear and apparel sponsors looking at several million dollars plus to get getter value

However, in the food chain of marathon sponsorships, the cappo du tutti frutti are BAA Boston, ING New York, B of A Chicago in terms of North American
numbers, and sponsorships paid.

The B of A Chicago's exhibit space is the best exhibit in North America, in this bloggers' estimation, in terms of service to consumer, room to walk around and care taken to give the marathoners a relaxed walking flow (except the last day, like all marathons), and a flooring that does not beat the heck out of their quads and hams two days before a major marathon. Carey Pinkowski, Mike Nishi and the team have taken a race, over the past fifteen years, and made it a race by which other marathons are judged. The attention to detail like, checking the blue line at two in the morning on race day, insuring that nothing has been changed in the set up. It is this attention to details, that goes unheralded. Think about this: The field at a Major Marathon is about the size of a small city--the management at any of these meets is moving nearly three times the size of my town! Moving a group of 30,000 plus challenges the resources!

Each major marathon has its special treats, for B of A Chicago, the special focus of Nike and their Nike plus coaching program will be a first. The majority of runners here are citizen runners and they know that they will be treated well on the course. Smarter training leading up to the race cuts up on injuries and makes the experience of the marathon that much more exhilarating.

Just why is Chicago so special? First, 40,000 plus runners, with perhaps same number turned away each year. The Bank of American is the key to running in Mid America, in that the race has citizen runners who come back, year after year, and run in weather that is cold, hot, really cold and grossly humid and hot. They must have the desire to train to do it in the Midwest.

Secondly, the potential to learn about a group this size would make marketers at any company drool. A crowd with good pocketbooks, with a high percentage of women, who are focused on training and their lives look good to companies like B of A and Nike. Yes, dear friends, they might like running, but running is a huge business builder and a huge business in North America.

I will be fascinated to see how the training tools that Nike is releasing will be used by this crew of marathoners.

http://www.nikebiz.com/media/pr/2008/04/10_Marathon.html

Nike Joins Bank of America Chicago Marathon as Official Footwear and Apparel Sponsor
10 April, 2008 Nike Running Delivers Motivational Tools to Help Prepare Marathon Participants

CHICAGO, IL. (April 10, 2008) – Nike (NYSE: NKE) today announced a new multi-year agreement with Bank of America to become the official footwear and apparel sponsor of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon®, beginning with the October 12, 2008 race, as well as the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle®.

As an event sponsor for the next five years, Nike will provide the official merchandise for race participants, personnel and pacers, and will operate a comprehensive 17-week marathon training program in Chicago, beginning in June 2008, to prepare and motivate all participants.

To complement this training program and to support the global group of runners who participate in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Nike Running has made available two new products to evolve the Nike+ experience, giving runners more options for how they want to run and train. Available today, the Nike+ SportBand is a wristwatch that also monitors a runner's steps, allowing runners to "See How They Run," checking time, pace, distance and calories burned, with a glance. The Nike+ SportBand watch face is a detachable USB link that captures all the run data from a sensor located in the runner's Nike+ ready footwear.

Nike+ Coach is a runner's own personal online trainer -- empowering runners with the information and motivation needed to train for a 5K, a 10K, half-marathon or full marathon -- and an easy, accessible way to connect to the world's largest global running community at nikeplus.com. As of February 2008, Nike+ runners have run more than 50 million miles on nikeplus.com -- the equivalent of completing more than 1.9 million Chicago Marathons.

"Both debut and elite runners can now rely on Nike for the 24/7 support they need to get it done, gut it out and take on the remarkable challenge of participating in one of the world's preeminent marathons," said Leslie Lane, Nike global vice president for running.


"We will bring a new energy and our distinct passion to this 31-year institution that has hosted many thrilling finishes and exceptional accomplishments, including Paula Radcliffe's world record-shattering performance in 2002. We are honored to enter into a relationship with Bank of America, another blue-chip brand with a rich history of promoting sports excellence."

"As a leader in the running industry, Nike has demonstrated a longstanding passion for the sport, and we are excited to welcome them as new partners to our Chicago-based running events," said Bank of America Illinois President David Rudis. "Leveraging their expertise is consistent with our commitment to strengthening and growing our events, and ushering in an exciting new era for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon."

Local Commitment

The Marathon sponsorship is the cornerstone of Nike Chicago's efforts to support the more than 1 million runners in the Chicagoland area, explained Daryl Jones, general manager, Nike Chicago.

"We are proud of our commitment to and support of local runners of all levels," said Jones. "Nike Chicago has created and sponsored many races, as well as supported several local elite running teams. We also provided area high school coaches with educational clinics and look forward to improving a Chicago-area running track later this year."

One of the five races comprising the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the second largest marathon in the United States, attracting 45,000 runners every year.

About Nike+

With Nike+, runners never have to train alone again. Nike+ enables footwear to talk to an iPod nano or Nike+ SportBand, giving instant performance information and real-time feedback during a run. Like a personal coach or training partner, Nike+ puts this information at runners' fingertips, in the process creating a Nike+ revolution. As of February, 2008, Nike+ members have run over 50,000,000 miles, logged over 14,000,000 runs and issued over 450,000 challenges. Nike+ has also created the world's largest running club at nikeplus.com, a global running community where Nike+ members can log their run data, track their progress, utilize training tools, and connect with other members all over the world.

About Nike

NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned Nike subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Cole Haan Holdings Incorporated, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football (soccer) brand; and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit www.nikebiz.com.

About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon will host its 31st annual running on Sunday, October 12, 2008 as 45,000 participants advance to the start line, embarking on the culmination of 45,000 personal journeys. Along with the massive field of recreational runners, the 26.2-mile course will welcome a full field of world-renowned professional athletes drawn to the flat, fast, urban setting and the potential to break world and national records. The professionals will compete for a portion of the $579,000 prize purse and points in the World Marathon Majors series which will crown its 2007-08 male and female champions with $500,000 each at the close of 2008. Since the inception of its charity program in 2002, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon has generated more than $38 million for a variety of charitable causes including $10.5 million in accordance with the 2007 event alone. Registration for the race is available online at chicagomarathon.com until the participant capacity of 45,000 is reached. For more information, visit chicagomarathon.com.

About Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving more than 59 million consumer and small business relationships with more than 6,100 retail banking offices, nearly 19,000 ATMs and award-winning online banking with nearly 24 million active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in 175 countries and has relationships with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Global Fortune 500. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. www.bankofamerica.com

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