Tata steps up as Mumbai Marathon title sponsor

MUMBAI: Salt to software conglomerate Tata Group is the new title sponsor of the Mumbai Marathon, replacing British banking major Standard Chartered, which has been intrinsically associated with India's most celebrated distance running event for the last 14 years. 

The new partnership, signed by event owners Procam International for a period of ten years, rebrands the annual event that takes place every third Sunday of January as the Tata Mumbai Marathon. Group holding company Tata Sons and its IT services arm TCS, which has been the marathon's associate sponsor until now, will be joint title sponsors of the Mumbai Marathon from the 2018 edition on.

While financial terms were not disclosed, a Times of India report has mentioned a figure of Rs300 million per annum as the title sponsorship fee. 

The event, billed as one of Asia's largest and richest with $405,000 prize money on offer for the 15th edition (this year it was at $386,667), will be held on 21 January 2018. 

Speaking at the Tata Mumbai Marathon launch event here Tuesday, N Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons, said, “We are delighted to become the title sponsor of the Tata Mumbai Marathon from 2018. Events like the marathon promote values like grit, tenacity, excellence, perseverance, belief, commitment, and passion that have been a key part of the Tata Group's ethos since its inception, almost 150 years ago. Partnering with India's premier long-distance running event is a great way for the Tata group to increase our engagement with the community, raise funds for charity as well as create societal awareness about the necessity of good health and fitness. As a marathoner, I’m personally proud to support this partnership."

Delighted with this new association, Vivek Singh, joint MD, Procam International, said, “It is a pleasure to welcome aboard the Tatas as title sponsors, as we celebrate a landmark 15th edition of the Mumbai Marathon. With a 10-year commitment to the event, the Tatas have shown us yet again their commitment to give back to the society through sport. We are honoured with their visionary approach and, as partners, we look forward to building a marathon legacy by providing participants across the world an extraordinary experience.”

He further added, “The Mumbai Marathon today is a phenomenon that has sparked a health and fitness revolution across the country and has become a springboard for Indian long & middle distance runners. At the same time, it has become a beacon of humanity and compassion as the largest platform for charity fund raising. In the Tatas, we couldn’t have found a better partner to take this journey ahead!”

The new logo and colours for the Tata Mumbai Marathon were also unveiled at the launch. The inspiration for the new logo is Mumbai city and its seven islands. From around ‘seven islands of Mumbai’, emerges the shape of a runner, energetically moving forward like the bustling city itself. The logo’s colours represent a celebration of the diversity – the true spirit of a cosmopolitan Mumbai.

Standard Chartered has been the title sponsor of the Mumbai Marathon since its inception in 2004, and has established a strong brand connect with it, having spun several social initiatives around the event over the years. The new title sponsors, who already back the NYC Marathon and the Amsterdam Marathon (technically the TCS half of it), will now have to put their creative energies into a massive rebranding exercise.

Procam, which pioneered the running movement in the country with the Mumbai Marathon, also promotes other road races in the country including the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, Tata Consultancy Services World 10K and the Tata Steel Kolkata 25 K.

After pulling out of the Mumbai event, Standard Chartered still has other marathons worldwide to its name - the Hong Kong Marathon, the Singapore Marathon, the Bangkok Marathon, the KL Marathon, the Taipei Charity Marathon, the Half Marathon Indonesia, the Dubai Marathon, the Nairobi Marathon, the Stanley Marathon and the Jersey Marathon. 

Over 46,000 participants across six different race categories are expected for next year's Mumbai Marathon, which, it is worth noting, the IAAF designated as a Gold Label race in 2010.