World Athletics and Sony Corporation announced a three-year agreement that will see Sony sponsor World Athletics Series events from 2024 to 2026.

As part of the sponsorship, Sony will support all World Athletics Series events starting from the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland in March.

Sony Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation and is responsible for the Entertainment, Technology & Services (ET&S) business.

With the vision to “continue to deliver Kando (emotion) and Anshin (peace of mind) to people and society across the world through the pursuit of technology and new challenges,” Sony Corporation supports the Sony Group with technology to create the entertainment of the future together with creators. 

“As the number one Olympic sport, the eyes of the world will be squarely focused on athletics this year as our athletes compete across our five World Athletics Series events, plus Paris. 

“We look forward to the outstanding photographs Sony will capture at our events to immortalize these many moments in our sport’s history.”

Sony is planning to use some of their best technology to capture images for photos, broadcasting and streaming.

World Athletics under fire at Mumbai and Xiamen Marathon label races

There has been some concern regarding the recent Mumbai, India and Xiamen, China marathons. World-class athletes were paid appearance fees to compete in these World Athletics label races. Most of them did not finish, some bowing out at 20K.

According to an analysis done by the Canadian Running Magazine, former world half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie and defending champion Philimon Kipchumba withdrew from the Xiamen Marathon after covering 20km.

 Apparently, none of the top athletes who were featured in the Xiamen Marathon preview finished the race.

During the Mumbai Marathon on Jan. 21, Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa headlined the Gold-Label men’s field, and two-time Amsterdam Marathon champion Tadelach Bekele headlined the women’s field. Both athletes started the race and did not finish.

In fairness, the chances of injury are higher in a marathon, so dropping out may be the best option. Also, if an athlete is not having a good day, finishing the marathon will delay their opportunity to try again soon. Additionally, it is not new for athletes to take appearance fees with both parties knowing the athlete is not at lifetime best fitness. However, in fairness to the masses who pay to run a marathon, many are fans of the top athletes. Race registration fees have escalated over the years. It could be viewed as unfair to have high registration fees and appearance fees for a high number of athletes who do not finish a race. Certainly, this is something to consider during the build-back after the global pandemic.