Due to the horrific damage that Hurricane Sandy has done to New York this past week, ING, the marathon’s leading sponsor since 2003, has been forced by the city of New York to cancel the long-awaited marathon that has held over 40,000 runners and 500 sponsors every year since it began. This will be the first time that the marathon has been canceled in over 70 years and has caused outrage among sponsors and consumers alike.
Although ING was originally planning on continuing to have the marathon even with the unbelievable damage that New York has experienced, public outcry about the unethical issues that ING as well as other sponsors are getting themselves into by ignoring the hurricane’s damage and continuing the marathon has been abundant. Because of this, ING has been forced to cancel the marathon and has put itself in a sticky situation when it comes to the revenue and promotion they and other sponsors will be losing because of it.
As we learned in class, the project triangle consists of time, cost, and performance. The time it took to plan a New York City Marathon is over a full year. The cost to get the over 500 sponsors to sponsor the event is over 1 million dollars, and performance is based on how smoothly the marathon runs. With these three contributing factors as well as many others, I understand why ING was hesitant to cancel the NYC marathon, but understand why the public was outraged as well. The amount of money and planning that went into making the NYC marathon what it is every year means that a lot of people are counting on it, and I believe this is why ING was reluctant to cancel it right away.
Furthermore, in a desperate final effort to save themselves from looking unethical, ING decided to donate $500,000 dollars to aid victims of the hurricane, and donate the generators that were going to be set up around the marathon for the runners, to the millions of people who need help in New York. While this was the right decision, thousands of runners, both from the U.S. and internationally, who have been training for this marathon for over a year, are devestated and feel disrepected that they were told about the cancellation last minute. As customers of the marathon for a number of years, the customer expectation for most of the runners is that they would be running no mater what.
Overall, I believe that this was the right decision to make and while people are still so angry at ING for not canceling it right away, I understand why ING didn’t.
How do you think this will affect ING’s future revenue? Do you think ING made the ethical choice to cancel the marathon? What would you do as president of ING to please both the runners and the people of New york that were affected by the storm?