NEW YORK — New York Road Runners has a new partner.
The running organization on Tuesday revealed a 10-year agreement with New Balance which will include year-round activations around the group’s running events and the opening of a store at its new Columbus Center headquarters next year. While New Balance declined to reveal the cost of the deal, it is estimated to be in the millions of dollars. The company said the agreement is the largest single running investment it has ever made.
At a press conference at New Balance’s Flatiron store, the companies said the new relationship will launch gradually in 2016 and culminate at the 2017 New York City Marathon.
Asics has been the apparel and footwear sponsor of the marathon for the past 25 years, an association that will end after the 2016 race.
Additionally beginning in 2017, New Balance will also manage NYRR’s e-commerce platform and produce all of its race T-shirts throughout the year.
Michael Capiraso, president and chief executive officer of New York Road Runners, said the group is currently constructing a 7,000-square-foot running center near Columbus Circle that will serve as a “hub for runners” to come to classes, join training programs and attend fitness-related events. Within that hub, he said, New Balance will open a store, a location he called a “shops-in-shop” where it will sell merchandise, launch new products and host events.
He expects the running center to open sometime next summer.
Rob DeMartini, president and ceo of Boston-based New Balance, said the deal also includes a “commitment to the youth of New York,” and for every pair of New Balance shoes sold at the running center, the company will donate a pair to youngsters in need throughout the five boroughs.
Capiraso said the deal with New Balance is “broader” than it had had with Asics, which only worked with NYRR on the marathon. New Balance will be involved in sponsoring other popular events including the Bronx 10-Mile and the 5th Avenue Mile, both of which will now sport the New Balance name. It will also become a partner in the New York Road Runners Foundation.
Capiraso said the sponsorship change was amicable and came as a result of NYRR going out into the market and talking to potential partners before settling on New Balance.
Gene McCarthy, the newly named president and ceo of Asics’ American division, told WWD the end of the partnership was a “strategic business decision made by Asics.”
He said the decision to part ways with NYRR has nothing to with the brand’s legal issues.
Asics is embroiled in a lawsuit with Windsor Financial Group LLC, which owned and operated 13 full-price Asics stores in North America, a dispute that led to the abrupt closure of those stores, leaving the brand with just its outlets and wholesale distribution in the U.S. market.
“We’ve already said publicly that those claims are baseless, and that we are vigorously disputing the matter and are confident the court will find in our favor,” McCarthy said. “Our business in the U.S. is stronger than ever, and that matter will have very little impact. We passed the $1 billion milestone in net sales for the first time in the Americas last year, and continue to invest and grow at an excellent pace.”