Citizens Financial will soon be a financial face of the New York City Marathon and local running community as the bank looks to expand its presence in the metro market. The firm entered a five-year deal to be the official bank of New York’s marathon, the 26.2-mile race that winds through the city’s five boroughs. Citizens also agreed to back New York Road Runners, the organization that puts on the premier event and other, shorter races throughout the year, according to executives.
“This was a way to celebrate New York, be part of the local community and continue to build our presence there,” Beth Johnson, vice chairman and chief experience officer at Providence, Rhode Island-based Citizens, said in an interview.
Citizens entered the New York metro market last year through its acquisition of HSBC’s East Coast branches and New Jersey-based Investors Bank. It now has more than 200 branches in greater New York City, Long Island and New Jersey. It also added a private-banking team based in New York after the fall of First Republic.
Financial terms of the deal between New York Road Runners and Citizens weren’t disclosed. Tata Consultancy Services will remain the city marathon’s title sponsor, an agreement that runs through 2029.
Historically, Citizens’ retail presence was predominantly in Boston, Connecticut, northern New Jersey and upstate New York, but there was a “a hole in the New York City metro area that logically made sense as we grow our business,” Johnson said.
The move is the latest in a list of Citizens’ sports partnerships in New York and the larger metro area. Last year, it became the official bank sponsor of the New York Giants and New Jersey Devils.
Citizens also said it will be the title sponsor for the renamed Citizens Queens 10K, a marathon qualifying race with over 10,000 participants in June. The bank’s name and signage, including on a double-decker bus, will be visible at this year’s New York marathon, to be held on Sunday, Nov. 5.
Businesses pay millions of dollars to support the six World Marathon Majors that award professional prize money. Earlier this year, Bank of America announced it would be the presenting sponsor of the Boston Marathon, in addition to being the title sponsor of the Chicago Marathon, held in October. Like the New York City Marathon, the London Marathon — also a World Marathon Major — has Tata as a title sponsor.
Johnson said New York is a competitive, crowded market, which drove Citizens to look for ways to get its name and brand in front of consumers. “Sponsorships are a great way to make sure we are tapping into customers at a local level,” she said.