The Marathon Goes Commercial

Working in sports marketing is like walking through a minefield. While most major league ballparks are plastered with advertisements, fans balked a couple of years ago when MLB planned to put Spider Man 2 logos on the bases. It seems there is a fine line between making money and desecrating history in the minds of spectators.

1208362255Now it’s time for the Boston Marathon to straddle that line. Today’s Globe reports that for the first time in 112 years, the famous race will allow advertisements.

Longtime sponsors Adidas and John Hancock finally convinced the race’s organizers to relax the rules on advertising. You’ll see 26 spots where the companies’ logos will be displayed, along with several banners and signs from the start in Hopkinton to the finish in Copley Square.

The Boston Athletic Association says it couldn’t put the race on without the financial support, and that “[i]t was time that we could make their support a little more visible.”

A spokesman for the sneaker company is delighted with the development.

“Adidas is thrilled to be involved in this significant moment in Boston Marathon history,” said Ashley Williams, running communications manager for Adidas[.]

Yes, it’s truly special to be there when a time-honored tradition gets a whole lot more commercial.