Just four years ago, in 2014, there was a title sponsor changing-of-the-guard at Connecticut’s premier spectator sporting events, as Eversource took over sponsorship of the Hartford Marathon, Travelers stepped in to save the state’s PGA Tour event (now the Travelers Championship), and United Technologies took the lead sponsorship that same year of what had been the Pilot Pen tennis tournament, now renamed as the Connecticut Open. Aside from a source of pride in maintaining marquee sporting events, the economic impact of the events continue to underscore the significance of local corporations coming through to sustain the events.
The latest evidence comes with news that the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s 2017 Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, Team 26.2 Relay and Charity 5K brought an estimated $14.5 million of economic value to the area over the course of race weekend. That figure is up from an estimated $13.6 million in 2015. Eversource is signed on as title sponsor through 2019.
Official indicated that the Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) spent approximately $1 million to produce the Saturday, October 14th race in 2017, primarily working with local vendors and service providers.
In addition to a local economic boost to the city of Hartford and surrounding communities, the marathon drew 71,780 spectators, participants and volunteers to the area. Officials point out that runners, friends and families stayed in Hartford lodging, shopped in the area and dined in local restaurants. Significantly, 87 percent of participants visited Hartford primarily for the event. Of those traveling from out of state, 44 percent were visiting the city for the first time, officials specified.
Thousands of runners are motivated to use the race to raise funds on behalf of various charities and causes. Through these efforts more than $288,000 was raised and reported by the event’s 20 official charities and other groups, although charity fundraising is not required to be reported, so the true numbers may be higher.
The annual Travelers Championship has an annual economic impact on the state of $68.2 million, according to a recent study by Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CERC). An economic impact study conducted a decade ago, in 2008, found that the tennis tournament predecessor to the Connecticut Open contributed approximately $26 million to the regional economy, including $10 million in local economic impact.
The Hartford Marathon will mark its 25th running on October 13, 2018. The 2018 Travelers Championship, will be held June 18-24 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. The Connecticut Open, at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, will be held August 17-25 in 2018.
“We’re proud to host people from across the country to achieve personal goals and celebrate their accomplishments,” said Beth Shluger, CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation and Race Director of the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. “We are able to highlight the best of what the capitol region has to offer in a positive and truly inspiring event that allows tens of thousands to run, walk, volunteer or spectate. We are excited to be celebrating our 25th running in October 2018 and hope to create an even bigger positive impact through this milestone event.”
The Hartford Marathon Foundation also produces more than 30 events through the year, many that contribute to other organizations’ community fundraising goals. The 2017 Mystic Half Marathon and 10K in May 2017 generated $28,000 to benefit the charitable works of the Mystic Rotary Club. Additional fundraising events HMF was contracted to produce races for in 2017 include the Mahoney Sabol 5K to benefit Hospital for Special Care, CT Race in the Park to benefit CT Breast Health Initiative, Zero Prostate 5K to benefit ZERO - The End of Prostate Cancer, Achilles CT Hope & Possibility 5K & 10K to benefit Achilles International – CT Chapter, Pumpkin Run/Walk to benefit Youth & Family Services of Haddam-Killingworth, Inc. and the Norwich Winterfest 5K to benefit Reliance Health, Inc.