The World Triathlon Corporation were the proud new owners of the iconic Ironman® brand.
After a year of working with the one of the largest sports marketing agencies in the world to find a replacement for the former title sponsor of the event, the Anheuser-Busch Bud Light brand. there had been no takers leaving the event without a naming sponsor with the stature to support the growth of the event, or the budget to support the NBC broadcast.
While Gatorade had been to Kona as the “Official Sports Drink,” they had politely refused a higher level of engagement when offered by the agencies that the new ownership had retained. At the time the Gatorade sports marketing strategy was to carve out the beverage category in every area of sport they could reach. Obviously looking back who could argue with them? Why pay for a higher level of sponsorship when you didn’t need it?
After learning about the Gatorade Sports Science Institute we realized the brand was going to be investing heavily in efficacy in the coming years to back up their sports marketing strategy with data. We went to visit Dr. Bob Murray, who was heading up the Institute at the time who agreed and helped us design a sponsorship that could work for everyone.
The answer to the question; “Why pay for a higher level of sponsorship when you didn’t need it?” was the one we answered by showing Gatorade that there was nowhere on the planet better suited to proving the efficacy of their brand than the lava fields in Kona.
The result was a five year title sponsorship that kept the Gatorade brand front and center on the course, the NBC broadcast, and in the minds of athletes everywhere. The deal was valued at more than $8 million over the course of the five year contract.