The Trail Running Film Festival - Online Watch Party Get your tickets.

The Trail Running Film Festival - Online Watch Party Get your tickets.

Massive news dropping this morning not via the official press release emails from UTMB directly but via Brian Metzler for Outside Run:

Hoka Elevates Its Support of UTMB to Become New Title Sponsor

And as part of that deal, Hoka is asking their flagship athlete to go back to Chamonix answering the question he posed on Strava last year after the Whistler kerfuffle broke: “So what do we race next year then?“.

This article holds several other important breaking news pieces and I need to break them down individually:

As title sponsor all UTMB Finals and Majors will now be called *Hoka* Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB, *Hoka* Kodiak Ultra Marathons by UTMB, etc. Yes, that’s a mouthful, and yes that’s how these sponsorship deals work.

What about Dacia:

Last July, Romanian auto manufacturer Dacia was announced as the title sponsor of UTMB and the UMTB World Series for three years. Dacia, which was onsite last year at UTMB week in Chamonix promoting its Spring EV, is expected to remain a premier-level auto sponsor in 2024.

The article doesn’t make it clear what happened here, but from what I am gathering Dacia was never the title sponsor of the entire Series, just of the Finals, and this new Hoka’s deal supersedes that with UTMB creating a new sponsorship level for Dacia.

More races to be announced:

The other UTMB World Series Majors include the Hoka Val d’Aran by UTMB (European) and Hoka Chiang Mai Thailand by UTMB (Asia-Pacific). Hoka will also be the title sponsor of a yet-to-be-announced UTMB World Series Oceania Major that will debut in 2025.

This indicates there not just being more events, but another Major coming on too.

The UTMB website isn’t updated yet and there’s no official press announcement from Chamonix yet. We will see how this deal will affect the messaging around the individual races and especially the Finals.

Lastly, this was announced via US media exclusive, with is 100% a deliberate move, most likely initiated by Hoka, to own the narrative. I have no idea what a deal like this is worth, but clearly Hoka is showing its commitment and negotiating power here which comes with deep pockets.