New York: In a massive image-building exercise, India’s Tata Consultancy Services flooded the metropolis with tens of thousands of its logo Sunday as the sponsor of New York City Marathon, the world’s premier long-distance running event.
Starting this year TCS is the title sponsor of the marathon, which is now officially called TCS New York City Marathon.
Over 50,000 runners ran the 22.6-mile (36.16-km) course through the city’s five boroughs while hundreds of thousands lined the route to cheer them on and millions watched the event on TV.
Besides signs and postings, TCS got its logo onto the bibs of the runners, attempting to create subliminally through all this a positive image for a company that is viewed with a measure of unfriendliness by the American middle class because of the outsourcing of jobs to India and the importation of Indian technology workers.
After the financial institution, ING, ended its title sponsorship of the New York Marathon, TCS stepped in last year to sign an eight-year contract. At that time, Mary Wittenberg, the CEO of marathon organizer New York Road Runners, said, “TCS won us over with their commitment to our sport, to making a difference in our communities through running, and through their aspirations to help us embrace and use technology.”
TCS said that “driven by TCS’s digital, financial, strategic, and marketing support ” the goal is “to make the New York City Marathon the most technologically advanced and socially engaged marathon in the world.”
TCS CEO N. Chandrasekharan is himself a marathoner who ran in the New York Marathon in 2009 and the Boston Marathon in 2012. The company is also title sponsor of the Amsterdam Marathon and has also sponsored marathons in Boston, Chicago, Amsterdam, Singapore and Mumbai.
As with most marathon events, African runners dominated the show. Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang won the men’s marathon with a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes, 55 seconds. Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa was behind him by 11 seconds. Among the women runners, the first and second places went to Kenyans: Mary Keitany with a timing of 2 hours, 25 minutes and 7 seconds, and Jemima Sumong followed 3 seconds later. The first place winners get a prize of $100,000 and the second place winners, $60,000.