The health benefits of marathon and the fact that it boosts a city’s tourism potential and showcases its landmarks is well documented, but marathons, especially the likes of New York City, London, Boston, Berlin, Paris, Dubai, Durban and others, are big businesses that generate millions of dollars yearly for the organizers, sponsors, residents, city and even countries that host the one day event.
The impact of the 2014 New York City Marathon on the city is $415 million, according to a report produced by AECOM, a firm that provides professional and technical services.
A record 50,530 runners from 130 countries completed the marathon while roughly 258,000 guests visited the city during marathon week.
The city garnered another $22.2 million in sales and occupancy taxes from the marathon, which sprawls across all five boroughs.
The London Marathon is equally rich in terms of returns; According to the marathon’s official website, the race now raises over £50 million per year, making it the Guinness World Record holder for a one-day fundraising event. The total raised during the marathon’s 34-year history now stands at £716 million.
It is not only charities who feel the benefits of the marathon coming to town. Figures released for the last five years show that the race added over £110 million to the economic activity of the country.
The Dubai Marathon has a huge impact on the city’s economy. With more than 25,000 people participating in the marathon, 10km and 4km fun run events – plus volunteers and spectators lining the streets – organisers revealed that the event would have an economic impact of more than $100 million on Dubai businesses.
Peter Connerton, event director of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, said: “The $100 million figure is a conservative estimate. If you are getting 40,000 like London or Berlin then you only need a calculator to work it out. The marathon has a huge impact on the city.”
The Bank of America (BAC) Chicago Marathon is one of the largest running events in the world, drawing over 40,000 runners from across the world last year.
According to a study performed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon generated “$253.49 million in total business activity to the Chicago economy,” which is “an equivalent of 1,742 full-time jobs and $85.94 million worth of wages and salary income.”
Furthermore, the economics lab reported the marathon itself “directly contributed an estimated $101.8 million distributed among the main sectors of the tourism industry, in addition to another $151.7 million in indirect activity.”
The economic effect of the activities of the out-of-town runners and those accompanying them has been calculated according to four different categories for accommodations with the corresponding spending behaviour. Their total expenditure is approximately 23 million Euros. This primary spending impulse goes mainly to the Berlin hotel and gastronomy industries.
The 119th Boston Marathon® on Monday, April 20, 2015, and surrounding Marathon-related events including the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo and the B.A.A. 5K, brings an estimated $181.9 million (USD) in spending impact to the Greater Boston region, according to Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) President and CEO, Patrick Moscaritolo.
The 2014 Boston Marathon generated $176.8 million (USD) and had a starting field of 32,458 athletes, second only to the Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 (38,708).
South Africa’s famous ultra-marathon, the Comrades, is set to inject almost R300-million into the KwaZulu-Natal provincial economy in the weeks leading up to and including the main race.
While the Accra Millennium Marathon according to the Mayor of Accra, Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, comes with immense numerous economic benefits and international recognition.