After Meb Keflezighi won the 2009 New York City Marathon – the first American win in 27 years – it was frustrating to many of Meb’s fans that they couldn’t buy a replica of the USA singlet Meb pointed to so proudly in the final strides of his historic win.
In fact, the shoe companies that sponsor professional runners have never made their elite athlete kits available to running fans, only to the athletes themselves. It is but one of many anomalies running has carried forward from its amateur past. It’s the same philosophy which sees track meets being organized specifically for the participants and decidedly not for the paying fans, which is why you might confusingly see six out of nine 100 meter sprinters wearing the exact same outfit in the starting blocks at Diamond League meets.
Imagine if every horse in the Kentucky Derby wore the same colors because each of the horses was under contract to the same horseshoe company. Consider if NBA and NFL fans weren’t allowed to buy replica jerseys of their favorite athletes. Not only would it lessen fan involvement and league promotion, but it would significantly lessen revenues for both the athletes and the rights holders.
Exactly because of this commercial malady, today former specialty running store owner, event director and Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier Ben Rosario and his wife Jen announced the launch of RunFanShop.com, a site geared toward the running fan. (more…)