By Pete Williams
In the latest sign that obstacle racing is becoming recognized in the mainstream sports world, Tough Mudder today announced a deal with Wheaties that will include Tough Mudder images and logos on 2 million boxes of the iconic cereal starting in May.
The activation of the year-long agreement already had begun with Wheaties branding for recent events on Tough Mudder’s “Walk the Plank” obstacle, where athletes leap from a 12-foot platform into water and swim a short distance to shore.
“Tough Mudder is helping to redefine what it means to be a champion,” said Kimberly Seifert, Wheaties associate marketing manager. “At Wheaties, we recognize that some of the biggest champions are those who don’t just compete against others, but who strive to challenge themselves.”
“Wheaties is one of the world’s most iconic brands when it comes to leading sporting events and we are excited to announce them as our official partner,” said Matt Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer of Tough Mudder. “Every Tough Mudder participant is deemed a champion once they cross the finish line and receive our coveted orange headband, so it only made sense to align ourselves with the Breakfast of Champions.”
Tough Mudder, which debuted in 2010 and is based in Brooklyn, N.Y., will stage 52 events worldwide in 2013 after holding 35 events in 2012 that together accounted for $70 million in revenue. The untimed Tough Mudder, billed as a challenge rather than a race, features off-road courses of 10 to 12 miles with 20 to 25 military-style obstacles testing the fitness, strength, mental grit, and toughness of participants. The events, typically located outside major markets, are based on rugged terrain, steep inclines (where possible), and water hazards.
Tough Mudder was the first national race to partner with major sponsors and work the branding into the course itself. Its “Mt. Everest” halfpipe challenge has been sponsored by Degree antiperspirant. The “Funky Monkey” bars is sponsored by the Clif Builder energy bars. Other Tough Mudder sponsors include Under Armour and Dos Equis.
Tough Mudder took an early lead in sponsorship sales over the rival Spartan Race, whose founders view their event as a competition that’s leading the movement to make obstacle racing an organized sport. Spartan Race has begun to bridge the gap in participants and revenue. In recent months, the Vermont-based Spartan Race has taken on private equity investment and signed Reebok as title sponsor.
“Reebok is great for Spartan,” said Dan Weinberg, Tough Mudder’s director of strategic partnerships and licensing. “But we’ve been talking with the big boys and will have some other big announcements soon.”
Read our coverage of the 2013 Tough Mudder Arizona HERE
Read our coverage of the 2012 Tough Mudder Florida HERE
Read our coverage of the 2011 Tough Mudder Florida HERE
Read our interview with Tough Mudder founder Will Dean HERE