What a difference a Monday makes.
This writer woke up to see a well-crafted press release, truly a piece of state Department level writing, on the Bank of America coming to Boston with the single most important sponsorship in the sport of running. This is a long-term relationship, noted the press release.
This is a hugely significant sponsorship, and Bank of America, along with the long-term adidas deal that is in place at the Boston Marathon, gives Boston a remarkable level of stability in the sports world.
Something must be said here about the stability of leadership at the BAA. Guy Morse (1986-2010), Tom Grilk (2010-2022), and Jack Fleming (2022-) are critical in the success of Boston.
Here are my immediate five talking points:
- John Hancock Financial Services saved the Boston Marathon in their sponsorship from 1986-2023. Never discount the amazing communications skills of one Guy Morse. Guy and David D’Alessandro found each other. D’Alessandro knew he could, as he told many of the assembled media, including me, “on the city of Boston for a day each year, for a few million dollars a year.” D’Alessandro built the relationship over two decades into one of the key sports marketing relationships in sports.
- This writer wonders how involved Carey Pinkowski, long-time executive race director of the Bank of America’s Chicago Marathon, was involved in this addition to the global portfolio of Bank of America in sports marketing.
- The title alone is significant, “Boston Marathon, presented by Bank of America” shows BofA’s deep appreciation of the running culture and the demographic they desire: citizens of Boston and the state of Massachusetts.
- The securing of the Bank of America as presenting sponsor, replacing the long-time John Hancock Financial Services sponsorship, shows the vitality of the event and the desire of Bank of America to be a financial player in one of the biggest sports cities in the world, Boston.
- Jack Fleming, the new CEO of the Boston Athletic Association, is an example of the importance of understanding a brand by living inside it. Jack’s appreciation of the cultures of the city of Boston, running, the Boston Athletics Association, and the Boston Marathon gives him a fascinating view into the culture of this unique event.
This writer also thinks that the late Marja Bakker, a long-time BAA leader behind the scenes, who championed the opportunities for women in the sport, would be very happy with this development. Marja was the only woman to be the president of BAA until her death in 2006. Marja was also a huge spirit behind Boston Marathon hosting US Olympic Trials in 2008.
For further reading:
Guy Morse, Executive Director, parts 1-4, Interview by Larry Eder. Guy took the Boston Marathon into the world of pro-running with John Hancock Financial Services, 1986-2023. Guy was Executive Director, 1986-2010, https://www.runblogrun.com/2019/04/rbr-interviews-guy-morse-former-executive-director-of-boston-marathon-pt-14.html
Tom Grilk, 2010-2022, Tom steered the ship of Boston through 2013 and the tragedies that ensued. Here’s the release on Tom taking over from Guy, https://www.runblogrun.com/2010/12/baa-expands-executive-leadership-guy-morse-to-senior-director-of-external-affairs-tom-grilk-to-execu.html
Jack Fleming, interview on Socialing the Distance: https://www.runblogrun.com/2022/05/socialing-the-distance-featuring-jack-fleming-ceo-of-boston-athletics-association.html
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