BEIJING, China (April 26, 2017) – Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. (“Wanda Group”), one of the leading Chinese private conglomerates, announced at a signing ceremony today that it has reached a landmark agreement with the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) with a ten-year strategic partnership aimed at the continued growth and development of marathon events worldwide.
The partnership plans to expand the AbbottWMM Series with events added in new regions such as Asia (outside Japan) and Africa, and will begin the process of identifying candidate races that will be required to meet AbbottWMM’s stringent criteria before selection for the Series.
The AbbottWMM Series comprise the world’s six greatest marathons: the Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago and TCS New York City marathons.
“Wanda is happy to partner with the Abbott World Marathon Majors, the most famous marathons in the world, to promote marathoning and healthy living,” said Wang Jianlin, Chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group. “Running is emerging rapidly in China and across Asia and we look forward both to bringing Chinese athletes to the Abbott World Marathon Major races and to helping Abbott World Marathon Majors to expand the series.”
“Our Race Directors look forward to working with Wanda to introduce the Series to new audiences in new territories, and to involving our runners in new initiatives,” said Tim Hadzima, AbbottWMM General Manager. “Nearly a million people apply every year to run in AbbottWMM races and our new partnership with Wanda Group will develop this phenomenal interest in marathon running.”
The World Marathon Majors Series was founded in 2006 to advance the sport of marathon running and to honor the world’s best male and female runners and wheelchair athletes. Now, every year, more than 250,000 runners participate in the AbbottWMM races worldwide, raising nearly $150 million annually for good causes, and the Series celebrates its Six Star finishers, runners who have successfully completed all six races in the Series. Additionally, AbbottWMM is a world leader in anti-doping initiatives, financing the biggest private-funded drug testing program in sport.
After acquiring IRONMAN in 2015, Wanda Group has worked closely with their wholly owned subsidiary to find and develop beneficial growth opportunities in the endurance space. IRONMAN will play the lead role for Wanda in the partnership.
“Marathoning is growing rapidly outside of its historical center in Europe, North America and Japan,” said Andrew Messick, President and CEO for IRONMAN. “We look forward to working with AbbottWMM to find or develop great races in other parts of the world that can become members of this prestigious organization.”
Dalian Wanda Group was established in 1988 and has developed into a conglomerate of commercial properties, culture, Internet and finance. It ranked 385th on the Fortune Global 500 List in 2015. In 2016 its assets amounted to 796.2 billion yuan with operating revenue of 255 billion yuan. By 2020, Wanda Group aims to become a world class multinational corporation with assets of $200 billion, market capitalization of $200 billion, revenue of $100 billion and net profits of $10 billion.
About Abbott World Marathon Majors
The Abbott World Marathon Majors is a series of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world: Tokyo Marathon, B.A.A. Boston Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon. The organizers of these events are united in their effort to advance the sport, raise awareness of its elite athletes, and increase the level of interest in elite racing among running enthusiasts. For more information, visit www.worldmarathonmajors.com.
About Wanda Sports Holdings
Wanda Sports Holdings is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.
A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, six of nine International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon Majors Series, mountain bike races, premier marathons and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than 680,000 participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 260 events across 44 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.