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Ironman World Championship Signs Title Sponsorship With GoPro

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Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- World Triathlon Corp. reached a title sponsorship agreement with GoPro, the wearable camera company, for this weekend’s Ironman World Championship triathlon in Hawaii.

GoPro, a unit of Woodman Labs Inc.’s whose cameras have captured video while mounted on the tips of surfboards and the wings of stunt airplanes, will use more than 100 portable units during the 140.6-mile (226.3-kilometer) race in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

“This is a great way for us to be able to showcase great new ways for people to be able to understand what a race like this really is,” Andrew Messick, chief executive officer of Ironman, said in a telephone interview. “We will hopefully be able to show some sides to the race that we haven’t been able to show before.”

Todd Ballard, GoPro’s director of sports marketing, said in a statement that his company was excited by the partnership, while declining to discuss financial terms. Messick also declined to comment on the contract’s value with the San Mateo, California-based company and said World Triathlon Corp., owned by Providence Equity partners, was in discussions to possibly extend the agreement beyond 2013.

“Every sports organization’s goal in a perfect world is to have long-term partners and that’s what we strive for and that’s what we’re confident we’re going to have,” Messick said.

Ford Motor Co. was the race’s title sponsor from 2005 through 2011. The company decided not to renew its agreement, which covered a total of 12 North American Ironman races, for the 2012 event. MyList, an Orlando, Florida-based Facebook application, was the race’s presenting sponsor last year.

Underwater Shots

During this year’s race, GoPro cameras will be placed underwater, on bicycles on the course and at other locations. For the first time, race referees also will be equipped with helmet-cameras to provide video evidence of infractions that might happen during the race, such as illegal drafting between competitors during the cycling portion.

“We want a clean race,” Messick said. “And to be able to rely on objective video information is something that has never happened in the sport before.”

The Ironman World Championship, first held in 1978, consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycling leg and a 26.2-mile marathon. This year’s edition is scheduled for Oct. 12.

Comcast. Corp.’s NBC will air the race as part of a special program on Nov. 16.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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