Infront gets Rome Marathon deal over the line

Infront Italy, an arm of the Wanda-owned sports marketing agency, has been appointed to organise the Rome Marathon in a contract that will initially run from 2020 to 2023 and includes the exclusive sale of broadcast and sponsorship rights.

Infront has emerged victorious from an invitation to tender process run by the city of Rome and FIDAL, the Italian athletics federation.

The agreement includes the possibility to renew until 2025.

The race was previously promoted by the Italian Marathon Club and Atielle Roma was the appointed commercial management company.

Both companies had challenged the city of Rome’s previous process to appoint an organiser for the race but lost their appeal to the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR) in October last year. The initial tender process was scheduled to cover the races from 2019 to 2022 (with a renewal option).

However, in being awarded the role of organiser, Infront has said that it will work with four companies, including the Italian Marathon Club and Atielle Roma, to ensure that the race “retains its high standards.”

The Italian Marathon Club and Atielle Roma will be responsible for the race direction, the ‘Expo Village’ co-ordination and the start and finish activities. Corriere dello Sport, the Italian newspaper and media company, will be in charge of local and national communications.

SCC Events, the organiser of the Berlin Marathon, has been appointed to handle co-ordination and event supervision. The company is well known to Infront as the Zug-based agency markets broadcast and sponsorship rights to the Berlin Marathon, while also handling the broadcast production.

Specifying its new role with the Rome Marathon, Infront said that it will “plan and manage the entire project and focus on stakeholder relations, sponsorship, broadcast media, hospitality and domestic promotion of the event.”

Following the legal challenge to the city of Rome’s search for a long-term organiser, this year’s race (on April 7) was organised under the management of FIDAL.

ACEA, the Italian energy company, was the title sponsor and Arena the technical sponsor of the 2019 race. Other sponsors included UniCredit and Daimler’s Smart automotive brand. There was no live TV coverage but delayed coverage was shown on Rai Sport, the Italian public broadcaster’s sports channel.

Daniele Frongia, Rome’s councillor for sport, described the appointment of Infront (and the quartet of other companies) as “a great achievement for the city of Rome, which once again has successfully shown that it wants to ensure transparency through a regular process”.

Jean Thomas Sauerwein, Infront Italy’s managing director, remarked: “The Rome Marathon offers a unique opportunity for Infront to expand its footprint in the corporate and personal fitness sector. Over the past two years, we have focussed on diversifying beyond our traditional areas of business, and partnerships with the Italian Golf Federation and the Italian Athletics Federation are testament to that. This new agreement marks another milestone in that journey.”

The Infront Italy-FIDAL agreement referenced by Sauerwein was announced in July last year. Infront agreed a six-year media, marketing and commercial rights partnership worth a guaranteed sum of €12.9m ($14.1m) to the Italian athletics body.

Infront handles all marketing and commercial rights for the federation, including the sponsorship of national team jerseys and the organisation of major elite events including the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea and Rome Half Marathon Via Pacis.