J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge endures virtually in Year 44
September 8, 2020
How many different sponsors have been on the front of the jersey of your favorite soccer team the last 20 years or so?
How about when you attend games of your preferred hockey, basketball, or baseball club? Can you recall the number of companies that have been title sponsor of the building where you watched?
The point is sponsorships generally have a short shelf life in the world of sports and entertainment marketing.
Yet, the commitment JPMorgan Chase and its predecessor firms have shown to the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge is unprecedented. No current title sponsorship in the United States even approaches the 44 consecutive years the firm has owned the Corporate Challenge.
“Owned” is the key word in that last sentence. JPMorgan Chase owns and operates the event and implements every aspect of the Corporate Challenge. And that ownership provides the nimbleness to adjust in difficult circumstances.
The current example of that is the ongoing uncertainty with COVID-19. Like virtually every other mass participation activity around the world, the pandemic forced the cancellation of in-person activities at the 2020 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series.
But out of that comes the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® Virtual, in which registered participants will have the ability to run or walk their own 3.5-mile course, without teammates or crowds, respecting social distancing guidelines from local authorities. All for no admission charge.
Corporate Challenge Virtual is more than just a Safe at Home facsimile. It reflects the desire of JPMorgan Chase to persist with the Corporate Challenge for the long haul, thanking long-time participants in the process by providing free entry, a donation to local charities from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and the coveted finisher t-shirts. All while giving a glimpse of the future through new App technology.
Change is not new to this event. The Corporate Challenge has persisted and continually proved its value within the often-volatile financial services industry for more than four decades. As the current JPMorgan Chase has taken shape through mergers and acquisitions, the Corporate Challenge has had five names in its history:
- 1977-91: Manufacturers Hanover Corporate Challenge
- 1992-95: Chemical Bank Corporate Challenge
- 1996-00: Chase Corporate Challenge
- 2001-10: JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge
- 2011-present: J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge
The Corporate Challenge grew in numbers and geography through those changes. The event began on July 13, 1977 with a single race in New York’s Central Park, with a mere 200 participants. For several years after that, under Manufacturers Hanover, it focused on expansion only within the Northeast United States.
But a 1982 expansion to Chicago preceded a 1983 move to San Francisco. Then a trip across the Atlantic to London in 1986. The Corporate Challenge was now well on its way to becoming a global presence.
Now, in 2020, Buenos Aires will be part of Corporate Challenge Virtual. That completes the span of the globe. The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series is now on all six of the fully inhabited continents.
And Corporate Challenge Virtual could produce something that transcends a 3.5-mile run. Like in 2001, when the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship was delayed three months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The race, held on New York’s Park Avenue, turned into a breathtaking celebration of resilience. Or, in a similar vein, at Boston’s 2013 event, when every dollar from entry fees was donated to the One Fund, supporting victims and their families of the Boston Marathon bombing.
By competing in Corporate Challenge Virtual, you’re becoming part of 44 years of resilient history. You’ll be helping to create what could be the most unique chapter of them all.