The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon has extended its contract in Savannah for three additional years, through 2016.
The original agreement was a three-year contract from 2011-2013.
“When it comes to large scale events coming to Savannah like the G-8 Summit and Tall Ships Festival, the overall impact of the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon weekend each year exceeds them all,” Visit Savannah President Joe Marinelli said. “This new commitment confirms the Competitor Group’s confidence in Savannah for many years to come.”
In its inaugural year, this event had an estimated $32 million economic impact on the region.
“In our first two years we have made great strides in building the right experience, maximizing the economic impact and limiting the disruption to local communities and businesses in downtown and the surrounding region,” said Scott Dickey, president and CEO of Competitor Group, Inc. “We look forward to building this event together and promoting Savannah and Chatham County as an ideal destination to runners all over the world.”
Savannah’s first event in 2011 saw a total of 19,000-plus participants and a record-breaking number of registered participants. In 2012, more than 17,000 runners registered and the course was altered to highlight more of the Historic District.
“The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is a terrific event for the city of Savannah and the surrounding community,” said Charlie Brazil, general manager of Old Town Trolley and chair of the Visit Savannah board of directors. “Its capacity to raise awareness regarding our destination and to bring guests to experience the unique offerings of Savannah is virtually unequaled.
“While the runners and the folks that are with them to cheer them on are in town, they patronize many of our businesses, use many of our services, and even better, make plans to return for an extended vacation.”
In addition to these tangible benefits, officials said, the marathon creates nationwide awareness for Savannah by putting it among the major cities in the United States and Europe that also host the race series including: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Madrid, Spain and Dublin, Ireland.
“The true benefit of this event coming to town is the exposure that Savannah benefits from in the worldwide marketing efforts for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series,” said Marinelli, “and the fact that with more than 81 percent out-of-market participation, the runners and their families are the ideal demographic of visitor that will come back to our city in the future, stay longer and spend more while they are here.”
He and others said extending the contract also is evidence of the relationship that Savannah and event organizers at Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI) have garnered since the original contract was signed in 2010 and that the group is satisfied with race participation and the quality of the event. Savannah was the group’s first race destination in the Southeast and continues to be its smallest destination on their race schedule.
“We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the city of Savannah, Chatham County and the entire team at Visit Savannah,” the Competitor Group’s Dickey said. “Joe and his team have worked tirelessly with CGI to build a world-class event. Extending our partnership and commitment made all the sense in the world.”