And the New Haven Open tennis tournament, which was bought last year by the state, is nearing a decision on its own title sponsor with negotiations underway, sources said. The list was recently narrowed from three companies, which included two from the Hartford area, a source said.
The Hartford Marathon Foundation is set to announce the sponsor for October's race at a press conference in downtown Hartford. The identity of the company has been a closely guarded secret.
"It's a company that's very concerned with every single person in Connecticut and in other places," said Beth Shluger, founder and CEO of the group. "They are very community minded."
Hmmm, so it could be a bank or Northeast Utilities. We'll just have to wait and see.
This much we know: The sponsor isn't Cigna, which seemed to be an obvious choice. The company moved its headquarters from Philadelphia to Bloomfield two years ago; its CEO, David Cordani, is himself a triathlon competitor; the company is in the health care industry; and Cigna already sponsors the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando.
The health insurer is one of the largest local companies that has never sponsored the race. ING had the title for six years but spun off its U.S. operations, creating a new company, Voya Financial. United Technologies Corp. had its name on the race for several years and before that, Aetna was the founding nameplate.
Industry sources say the sponsorship costs in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the company being named Wednesday will also be prepared to send hundreds of volunteers, as ING, UTC and Aetna did.
It was not automatic that the marathon would attract a banner sponsor. In Miami, where ING ended its run in February 2013, this year's race went off with no corporate branding.
Shluger said she's been generally choosy over the years, turning away such names as Red Bull, which sells a product the marathon board does not want to endorse.
"The one thing we have here is, there are a lot of great companies in our area," Shluger said. "It speaks well of our Connecticut economy, doesn't it, that we've got two big events and both are in position to name title sponsors."