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A Missed Opportunity for it to All Start Here

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Hopkinton, our quaint town nestled in the heart of Massachusetts, is about to witness a momentous occasion as it prepares to host the 100th year of the Boston Marathon starting in Hopkinton. On the morning of April 15th, the town will come alive with excitement and anticipation, marking a century of tradition and athletic excellence. Yet, amidst the jubilation, there lingers a sense of what could have been—a missed opportunity that could have elevated Hopkinton’s status and left an indelible mark on its history.

A couple of months ago, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), Bank of America (BofA), and Adidas approached Hopkinton’s Marathon Committee with a proposal to commemorate the centennial milestone of Hopkinton hosting the start of the most famous marathon in the world. They sought to collaborate with the town, using its slogan “It All Starts Here” in their publicity and branding efforts. This partnership presented an unparalleled opportunity for Hopkinton to share in the global spotlight and celebrate its pivotal role as the starting point of one of the world’s most iconic sporting events.

However, despite the prestige and potential economic benefits associated with such collaboration, Hopkinton’s Marathon Committee made the decision to rebuff the proposal, opting not to participate. The obvious question is ‘Why’? And we must also ask, ‘did the Marathon Committee have the authority to make that decision? Do they speak for the economic future of Hopkinton? Who owns the “It All Starts Here” slogan anyway?’

HopNews looked into trademarking the slogan on behalf of our town. One of first the things our search turned up was that the city of San Francisco recently began using the exact same slogan. That seemed to violate our first use. Ownership of a trademark is given to the first-to-use, not the first-to-file, though Hopkinton would need to provide evidence that we had been using the brand in commerce, which we have not. In short, it can get complicated.

This led us to consult with a trademark attorney. The attorney suggested that for less than $4,000, we could both investigate all current users of the slogan (of which there are thousands) secure a trademark for the slogan, as well as ensure that other cities or towns who are using that trademark are doing so appropriately and are not infringing upon our rights. We can also define the items we’d use the trademark on such as athletic apparel, merchandise, and more.

The Marathon Committee’s decision not to collaborate with such well known brands caused Hopkinton to forfeit numerous valuable opportunities that could have enriched the town in a myriad of ways. The Boston Marathon transcends mere athletics; it is a symbol of resilience, community, and human achievement revered worldwide. By embracing the licensing agreement with the B.A.A., BofA, and Adidas, Hopkinton could have positioned itself at the forefront of the centennial celebrations, showcasing its heritage, hospitality, and vibrant culture to a global audience.

Moreover, by declining to collaborate with these esteemed organizations, Hopkinton missed out on significant economic benefits. Major events like the Boston Marathon have a profound impact on local economies, attracting tourists, spectators, and participants who infuse communities with vitality and spending. Hopkinton might have experienced a surge in tourism revenue, supporting local businesses and fostering economic growth.

Let’s assume that Hopkinton does trademark our slogan and embraces these lucrative opportunities in the future. Once our trademarked slogan is attached to athletic apparel, merchandise, or anything, it can then be licensed to Adidas, and to the marathon; the possibilities are endless. Our town stands to reap a windfall of royalties from everything sold with our trademarked slogan; it will be a direct revenue stream, because at that point, we will be the trademark owner. 

With the money, the town could bolster the common, improve the community, fund Parks and Rec scholarships, support running clubs, and much more.

This is Economic Development 101. A partnership like this would leverage a resource that we already have, and in terms of business, it’s 100% margin because it doesn’t cost us anything once the trademark is approved. The brands will do all the work. Imagine the marketing muscle of Adidas, pumping out “It All Starts Here” apparel. The Boston Marathon is the holy grail of marathons. Everyone who has ever run a marathon wants to run “Boston.”, and everyone who runs Boston wants something indicating that they have run Boston. 

It doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out what Adidas makes at the Marathon Expo – there are 22,000 registered runners for the marathon this year. Every runner brings at least one person with them to the expo to pick up their bib, and many bring their families. That means (at least) 44,000 people will walk through the expo between Friday and Sunday. Most will buy something branded, even if it’s just a coffee cup for the office, and that all adds up.

By declining to recognize the branding opportunity and publicity efforts, the town failed to honor the contributions of its own residents, particularly individuals like Paul DiBona, who played a significant role in the genesis of the “It All Starts Here” slogan. The Marathon Committee, entrusted with stewarding the town’s legacy, missed an opportunity to showcase the spirit of volunteerism and community pride that defines Hopkinton’s identity.

In essence, the Marathon Committee’s decision – if in fact they had the authority to make that decision – to forego participation in the centennial partnership represents a missed opportunity of monumental proportions. As the 100th year of the Boston Marathon dawns, Hopkinton finds itself on the sidelines, watching as others take center stage in commemorating the legacy that really does all start here. 

Yet, amidst the regret and what-ifs, there remains hope for future collaboration and partnership, as Hopkinton continues to write its own chapter in the storied history of the Boston Marathon. Next year is the 101st year the marathon starts in Hopkinton. Let’s do the right thing, trademark our slogan, and say YES to opportunity.

Sunnyside Gardens

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Does Hopkinton welcome economic growth? What does it do to support local businesses? This town has traditionally voted no to economic growth. They didn’t want a cvs, they don’t allow for drive thru restaurants, so they purposefully try to avoid any business coming off of 495, they spent years revitalizing the downtown which hurt all the local businesses and the new trail next to the sidewalk looks like an eyesore not an improvement. Did they run out of money to bury any of the electric lines? With low police staffing, could this town even support 22,000 additional cars and 44,000 + people coming into it to pick up their bibs and hosting that many people? We don’t have a hotel for these people either. Currently most runners get bussed in from Boston for the marathon and by noon-ish the roads open back up and regular life continues. Even if it went to the town boards for a vote, The event isn’t set up to support local commerce and the town doesn’t think out of the box to support businesses to grow. Yes it’s a huge missed opportunity but it would take a lot of planning and town support to host such an event. Does Hopkinton have movers and shakers in office and would the town support hosting such a big event?

    • KF,
      Reread the article. She never mentioned 44,000 people coming to Hopkinton. Instead, she gave a simple example of each runner and one guest buying a coffee cup with the logo at the marathon EXPO in BOSTON.

      The MARATHON EXPO is, and always has been, held in BOSTON. Runners pick up their numbers in Boston. The EXPO is connected to the packet pick up. Packets contain the runner’s bib (number). After picking up their number, nearly all runners walk through the expo. There, they buy the branded merchandise within the huge Adidas booths. Tens of thousands of items with the marathon logo (but sadly, not our slogan) will be sold during marathon weekend (Fri-Sun). Hopkinton will miss out on those sales because the Marathon Committee said NO.

      Hopkinton doesn’t need to be set up for anything. Just trademark the logo and say YES to the opportunity. It really is that SIMPLE.

      P.S. This has nothing to do with volunteers – they are GREAT!

      • It sounds like you know how to do it so propose it to the town and trademark it! It’s not too late! And it will last into the years following as well.

  2. This information is absolutely “news” and I am saddened and horrified by the lack of vision displayed by the marathon committee. What a loss.

    That being said, I’m also taken aback by the reporter’s apparent OPINION woven into the entire piece. Perhaps it should be labeled as such??

      • Thank you, Ms. McBride. As you no doubt noted, we have updated the tagging of the article to correctly identify it as both an Opinion and a Business post. However, we would like to point out that this excellent article was researched and crafted by HopNews contributor Paula Garland, who devoted considerable time to it. All praise should be directed to her!

  3. The timing of the article I feel is so inappropriate for all of the volunteers on the committee and beyond. This week leading up to the event is stressful and this just adds another layer. Very unfair and lowers morale. We also don’t know all details I am sure on the decisions made.

    • I’m a little concerned that nowhere does our author ask The Marathon Committee for a quote or a response.

      “ However, despite the prestige and potential economic benefits associated with such collaboration, Hopkinton’s Marathon Committee made the decision to rebuff the proposal, opting not to participate.”

      Where? Was this a meeting? What was the actual deal with the BAA and Adidas, and would it weaken the Marathon Committee’s claim to the phrase? Context is important and even if the Marathon Committee was reached out to and didn’t respond, put it in the article.

  4. Great article! Thanks for shedding light on something it seems the town would like to sweep under the carpet. I am very saddened by this news that the Hopkinton Marathon Committee would turn down this golden opportunity to further solidify Hopkinton’s reputation that “It all Starts Here”. An opportunity that literally only comes every hundred years! I don’t know of a single thing that the town is doing to bring visibility to this being the 100th year that the Boston Marathon has started in Hopkinton. We should be proud and it should be well known this is happening and we as a community missed an easy chance to be a big part of it with these major sponsors. I wish someone from the Marathon Committee would explain why they thought it was a good idea to pass on this Golden Egg while the goose was in town! I love the Boston Marathon and have run it multiple times and I am always proud to be in the starting corrals in my home town. I have always volunteered in some way with the BAA either leading up to the marathon or on Marathon Day as I am this year. I am very proud that “It all Starts Here”. I wish our town leaders were just as proud.

  5. Maybe this could be attributed to absolute ridiculous thoughts and actions of are current Board of Selectmen. Mary Jo LaFreniere commented to a candidate for the marathon committee “as a runner, coach, and long time volunteer, you are over qualified! I want to save the spot for someone who doesn’t run.”

    That’s why!

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