San Francisco Marathon to Offer Free Race Photos
Imagine crossing the finish line of a marathon, collecting your medal and postrace nutrition in the finisher’s chute, and then grabbing your free photos.
The San Francisco Marathon will make this scenario a reality on July 24 when it becomes the first major city marathon to offer free race photos to runners.
“We represent the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and we feel that the marathon should be representative of the culture and community we represent,” Tom Huston, race director for the San Francisco Marathon, told Runner’s WorldNewswire. “Because we are the tech capital of the world, we wanted to take a more forward-thinking approach.”
Huston hired a third party company, Gameface Media, to shoot photos of runners along the course. Runners will be able to claim their photos online, download, and share them on social media. Runners will also have the option to get prints of the photos, for a fee.
Hutson said the marathon’s registration fee hasn’t been raised to reflect the loss of revenue from the traditional paid-photos model. Instead, in the free-photos model, a sponsor bears the cost of the service; in return, their logo is printed, along with the race logo, on a corner of the photo, as seen in the image above.
“The revenue generated was not as much of a value to us,” Huston said. “This will allow our brand partners to have a more meaningful interaction with the runners.”
Gameface Media is the largest provider of free sporting event photos in the United States, working with clients such as the Warrior Dash and other smaller races around the country.
“It really is a little bit of history in the making because this is the first ever city marathon to do free photos,” said David Lavallee, CEO of Gameface Media. “We think we’re way ahead of this trend.”
Based on consistent metrics from other races Gameface Media has shot, they expect to shoot 300,000 photos at the San Francisco Marathon, which will generate an estimated 2.5 million impressions on Facebook.
“The really exciting part is that when you add up what those photos are worth under the traditional model, it means we’re giving away more than $1 million worth of photos,” Lavallee said.
Lavallee said, on average, Gameface Media sees two sharing actions per participant, whether that’s through social media, email, or download.
“We’re seeing about eight minutes of interaction with the photos when people are coming from desktop and four minutes from mobile,” he said. “People really like this idea of surfing around a bit and looking through the photos.”
For other races, Gameface Media has partnered with brands such as Under Armour, Newton Running, Saucony, and TomTom to sponsor the free photos.
“Brands are looking for more meaningful ways to have a one-on-one dialog with their customers, so providing something as personal as it could possibly be creates that personal connection,” Huston said. “The difference will be in how the individual race directors and companies actually activate and implement the tool.”
One of the shots Gameface Media is planning to capture is that of runners crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.
“We believe this is the most compelling digital content in the world,” Lavallee said. “It’s a personal picture of you doing something you’re happy about, and for the first time it’s going to be free for major marathon participants.”