adidas and Boston announce contract extension to 2022, by Larry Eder

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Another bellwether of our sport. But, dear readers, as I was asked twice today to explain the derivation of bellwether, I will leave it to American Track & Field editor James Dunaway: "A wether is a castrated male sheep, which like steers, were castrated so they wouldn't go around all chasing all of the cows but would still grow up to be eaten, or in the case of sheep perhaps sheared many times and then eaten as mutton (ugh!).

A bellwether was such a sheep, a veteran which knew the way home from grazing in the fields, and which had a bell hung from its neck, the sound of which led the rest of the flock back to wherever the shepherd wanted them to go...hence the term, bellwether as a leading indicator."

Well, the announcement today of adidas extending its contract with the oldest continuous marathon in the world, the BAA Boston marathon, to 2022, (which will include the 125th anniversary of the BAA in 2013 and the 125th anniversary of the race in 2021) is a definite bellwether on the health of our sport. This suggests that high end and attractive events should be of import, especially in this economy. It also suggests that two motivated groups should be able to work out a sports marketing conundrum.

The deal was brokered, as such deals are, over the last five years, but was finalized in time to announce at during the marathon festivities. Most of the discussions were made between Guy Morse, Executive Director of the BAA Marathon, and Adrian Leek, the global director of running for adidas. Leek has a long history with the event and the city of Boston, having helped the 1992 World XC Champs succeed after some early challenges.

It is this writers' belief that the Boston Marathon is the most iconic of marathons, and, as it is the citizen runner's version of the All star game--one must qualify for the vast majority of spots in the race. The 25,000 runners here are most of the top five percent or so in their age groups. Boston is pure geek.

adidas has introduced many innovations over the past years, from developing one of the most comprehensive special collections of Boston/adidas gear and this year, a special shoe color wave. A walk around the city of Boston will show the most integrated outdoor campaign by adidas-over 550 new outdoor signs across the city during month leading up to the the marathon. A morning of kid's races on Saturday
plus some mile races on Sunday add to the festive weekend. And then, Monday morning, when 25,000 converge on Hopktinton.....

An event like the Boston Marathon is in high demand. adidas has always had a strong concern that someone else might come in and try and take the event from them. In this bold move, adidas and the BAA have agreed that another footwear or apparel company is just out of the question for the next fifteen years for the Boston Marathon.

ADIDAS AND BOSTON MARATHON ANNOUNCE CONTRACT EXTENSION

On the 20-year anniversary of their original contract, adidas and the Boston Athletic Association extend their partnership

BOSTON (April 16, 2009) – adidas and the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) are celebrating their 20-year partnership with a contract extension that keeps the brand as the Official Supplier and Outfitter of the Boston Marathon for years to come. Looking forward, adidas and the B.A.A. will be together for the B.A.A.’s 125th anniversary in 2013, and the historic 125th running of the Boston Marathon in 2021.

This year, adidas will again supply the coveted official Boston Marathon jacket and will outfit more than 10,000 race volunteers, media members, medical personnel, race officials and staff. In addition, the extension expands on the adidas role to include exclusive rights to manufacture, distribute, promote and sell B.A.A. branded apparel.

“The Boston Marathon is the world’s most prestigious road race. Runners of all levels travel to Boston each April to run, cheer or simply watch history being made. As a running brand it is the place to be,” said Patrik Nilsson, President, adidas America. “The Boston Marathon is a key platform for us to introduce new products and technologies, and we look forward to more opportunities to build on the traditions surrounding this race with runners and fans alike.”

When adidas first sponsored the Boston Marathon in 1989, the race had 6,458 entrants; this year it will have 26,400. The B.A.A. and adidas will continue to create comprehensive and proactive community outreach programs to serve and promote sports in the city of Boston. Currently, the two entities partner on programs such as clinics for Boston-area runners throughout the year and the B.A.A. Kid’s Relay Challenge, conducted over marathon weekend.

“The partnership between the B.A.A. and adidas has strengthened the Boston Marathon in ways that not even we could have predicted,” said Guy Morse, B.A.A. executive director. “We have been able to inspire, motivate and create products, events and programs that are consistent with the Boston Marathon’s prestige and history. Since we joined efforts in 1989, adidas has been with the B.A.A. and with runners every step of the way.”

2009 Boston Marathon Product

adidas running product will be on sale at the adidas booth at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo inside the John B. Hynes Convention Center and at local Boston retailers including Marathon Sports, City Sports, New England Running Company and the Greater Boston Running Company. The full line of product can be purchased online at www.shopadidas.com.

· In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original partnership and the running of the 113th Boston Marathon, adidas designed a limited edition B.A.A. Supernova Sequence 2 running shoe. The limited-edition shoe features a unique colorway with the iconic B.A.A. unicorn logo. Only 800 pairs of the shoes were created. The shoes retail for $100 and are available at the Boston Marathon Expo, Marathon Sports, City Sports, New England Running Company, the Greater Boston Running Company and www.shopadidas.com.

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· All runners should have the chance to show off their accomplishment and adidas and the B.A.A invite them to do that with the Official Race Jacket of the 113th Boston Marathon. Featuring ForMotion apparel technology that optimizes performance and fit, this jacket offers greater comfort and freedom of movement. The ClimaProof lightweight shell allows heat and sweat to evaporate while keeping cold air and wind away from the body. The jacket retails for $90 and is available for men and women.

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· For the first time, Marathon finishers will have the chance to create a personalized t-shirt after the race through adidas and partner SpreadShirt.com. Finishers can visit the site to select from various colors and styles and also can incorporate the official B.A.A Marathon logo as well as their finishing time on select designs.

About the Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's most prestigious road racing events. The Boston Athletic Association manages this American classic, which is sponsored by John Hancock Financial Services. The Boston Marathon has distinguished itself as the pinnacle event within the sport of road racing by virtue of its traditions, longevity and method of gaining entry into the race (via qualification).

About adidas

adidas is a global designer, developer and marketer of athletic footwear, apparel and accessories with the mission to be the leading sports brand in the world. Brand adidas is part of the adidas Group, a corporation that also includes Reebok, TaylorMade and Rockport. Some of the players in adidas’ roster of athletes include: Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Wariner, Allyson Felix, Shawn Johnson, Candace Parker, Reggie Bush, Tim Duncan, Ryan Howard and David Beckham.

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