Sponsored Race Photography – An Emerging Model

This is a guest post from Eitan Hefetz, founder and CEO of Pic2Go Ltd.

finish-line-photoPhotography has been part of running events since the early days of races emerging as a popular leisure and recreation activity. Runners who sometimes train for months love to get their moments of achievement memorized in great photos.

The Old Model
For years the dominant business model driving racing events photography was selling photos to athletes. This model is becoming challenging for race photographers. People are taking and sharing photos using their smartphones and are reluctant to pay for the official event photos.

Yet, at the same time, race finishers are still enthusiastic about sharing their race experience with their friends, particularly via their social media profiles.

The New Model
Sponsored race photography offers an alternative, up-to-date model. The race or (most probably) the race sponsors pay for having photos taken and instantly posted to athletes’ social media profiles. (Prior to the event, athletes register their bib numbers and give permission to access their Facebook profile.) In this model, everyone wins:

  • Athletes are happy because they have professionally taken photos of themselves in a moment of achievement posted to social media – free of charge.
  • Sponsors can brand the photos with their logos/watermarks and get a huge amount of additional exposure by reaching the athletes’ “friends” (which could number in the hundreds of thousands depending on the event size).
  • Race organizers can provide a great, unique service to the athletes and get “free” marketing for the race.
  • Race photographers can secure their income through a fixed fee set prior to the race. In addition they might also have the chance to sell the high-res photos for extra revenues.

 Putting the New Model into Play
Using sponsored race photography at your event should be simple, given the right platform is used. It is very important that the photography operation doesn’t get complex or require special equipment.

At the same time, it is important that there is a fast photo-tagging solution (based on automated bib number recognition) in place as well as instant social media photo-sharing technology available. Both athletes and sponsors need to see the branded photos sorted and posted to social media as soon as possible – within minutes or a few hours rather than days!

Events Using the New Model
Leading race sponsors as Samsung, Gillette, Adidas, Nike, The North Face and Vodafone are already utilizing the sponsored race photography model in key events around the globe as – Malta Marathon, Moscow Marathon, Tel Aviv Marathon, El Cruce Colombia, The North Face Endurance Challenge and many others!

Vodafone Malta Marathon 2014 instructing athletes about getting their free sponsored race photos:





















Have you tried sponsored race photography at your event? How has it worked for you? Leave a comment below!

About Eitan Hefetz:
Eitan Hefetz, founder and CEO of Pic2Go Ltd., a pioneer solution provider for sponsored race photography.