Why the NY Apple Association Sponsors the Big Apple’s Marathon

The New York Apple Association has delivered tens of thousands of apples to the TCS New York City Marathon for 20 years because the event lines up with its strategic objectives. Here’s how NYAA thinks through it.

The New York Apple Association just wrapped up its 20th year of sponsoring the TCS New York City Marathon, a historic event that draws more than 51,000 finishers each year—and many more spectators. While getting an estimated 82,000 apples from various growers around the state to Manhattan in time for the November 5 race was no easy feat, for NYAA, the event is such a good strategic fit that the small association continues to organize it year-after-year.

“It’s quite the logistics operation to source and arrange delivery for that large a quantity of fruit,” said NYAA PR Director Julia Stewart. In fact, in preparation for the November event, NYAA starts sending out RFPs to its growers the spring before the marathon. The growers send back proposals with how many apples they can provide and at what price, then NYAA purchases the apples from those chosen and arranges to have them shipped to the race.

Still, Stewart said all that time, money, and effort are worth it because of how the sponsorship meets NYAA’s strategic objectives. For other organizations considering sponsorship opportunities, Stewart recommends they ask themselves: “Does this event make sense when held up against our strategic objectives and our target audiences?”

Here are a few reasons NYAA considers the TCS New York City Marathon a worthy endeavor, which might be helpful to other associations that are considering sponsorship opportunities.

It’s a great branding opportunity. The TCS New York City Marathon is a high-profile event, which draws tens of thousands of competitors and spectators, who will come into contact with the New York State Apple brand, whether through the finishers’ swag bags or at the various events that surround the marathon. “Because of the high level of attention that the marathon attracts, this gives us a great opportunity to get the New York State Apple brand out there,” Stewart said.

It’s a logical target audience. The marathon attracts a certain segment of people from around the world, and these happen to be one of NYAA’s target audiences. “These are elite and amateur athletes who pay attention to what they put in their bodies, and they want good-tasting, high-quality food,” Stewart said. “New York State apples can supply that.”

It has a community angle. Because NYAA sponsors the marathon, it gets 15 free race registrations. Each race registration carries an almost $300 value, and for the last several years, NYAA has given them to 15 Rochester, New York, firefighters and police officers.

It just makes sense. New York is the largest apple-producing state east of the Mississippi—and the second-largest apple-producing state in the entire country (after Washington State)—so it just makes sense that NYAA would sponsor the Big Apple’s marathon. The race has “a very logical as well as emotional connection for our industry,” Stewart said.

How does your association think through the various opportunities it has to market itself and its industry? Please leave your comments below.

(New York Apple Country/Flickr)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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