What does Wanda Group's Partnership with Abbott World Marathon Majors mean to the business of running?


The announcment this morning of the Wanda Group's strategic partnership in the Abbott World Marathon Majors is a shot in the arm to the business of running. While it is very early in the process, RunBlogRun has prognosticated a bit on what the partnership means to the sport. Tell us what you think!


What does Wanda Group strategic partnership with Abbott World Marathon majors mean to running?

1. It means that running is truly a global sport and business. The Wanda Group is one of the most fascinating businesses in China. The company began in shopping malls, but has truly been investing in business and cultural extensions that support the growth of the Chinese middle class. The investment in IRONMAN gave them global reach in multi sport endurance activities. In IRONMAN properties, they also purchased several unique running events, whetting their appetite. Wanda Group was also one of the rumored interests in the continuing saga of the Competitor Group.

2. It means that the running business is still a business with a strong financial future.

Face it, for most the past two decades, being in the running business meant that you virtually had a printing press to print money. If you were in run specialty, ten to fifteen percent growth even during the recession. If you had a more than mediocre race, in a strong running community, you had strong numbers, and could find some sponsors. If you were a running footwear brand, you were in a pretty good place as well. Then, about three years, ago, the world of running began to change. Retail got harder, and now, only the very best are making money. Races are falling away, and again, only the very good ones are making it. And the companies that can use economy of scale, produce consistently great events and products, and retailers who can deliver the very best of service are the ones who are thriving.

3. It means that the running boom has moved to India, China, Korea and other environs.

The Wanda Group has already invested in endurance sports with IRONMAN brand. That means they see strong future in this business. Their partnership in Abbott World Marathon Majors means that the excitement and community that Marathon Majors events bring will be shared in other environs around the world. That is always good for the sport!

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