The Great Run Company today announced it is seeking a new title sponsor for the Great Run Series, a group of running events staged across nine cities in the UK and Ireland. Incorporating the iconic Great North Run, now billed as ‘The World’s Favourite Run’, the Great Run Series attracts 250,000 runners, 750,000 spectators and 5.5million TV viewers every year.

The existing title sponsor, grocery retailer Morrisons, succeeded long running title sponsor Bupa in November 2014 and will end its sponsorship at the end of 2015.

ESP Properties, a WPP Company, is a sports marketing agency and will represent The Great Run Company in its search for a new title sponsor for 2016 and beyond. This search will be underpinned with analytics and consultancy delivered by Two Circles, the award-winning agency that provides the foundation of ESP Properties’ digitally-native approach.

Mark Hollinshead, Chief Executive at The Great Run Company, said: “I would like to thank Morrisons for their support over the last year but we are now looking forward to the next exciting chapter in our history. We are confident that the Great Run Series, with its unrivalled reach across the UK throughout the year, and our ability to engage the UK’s largest running community, is an attractive proposition for companies looking to promote a positive image to the families of Britain.

“We are delighted to have ESP Properties help us find the next title sponsor for the Great Run Series, which itself has become a movement; it is truly at the heart of mass participation in the UK. Our runners raise millions for a huge range of charities and represents Britain at its best – active, open to all and a great sporting spectacle staged on the streets of our cities.”

“We selected ESP Properties because of both their extensive network and expertise across the sports industry, and because sponsorship has evolved. It is now about data-led engagement of specific audiences, great content, and high quality digitally native delivery - both Two Circles and ESP Properties understand this better than anyone.”

Jonathan Hill, Global Commercial Director & Head of EMEA at ESP Properties, said: “We are very excited to be representing such an iconic property and one with genuine mass appeal.

“What makes our role alongside The Great Run Company even more exciting is that Mark and his team share our vision for sponsorship and have repositioned the property as a media and content platform as well as a leading series of national events. Progressive brands will love what they have to offer, all year round.”

Gareth Balch, Managing Director of Two Circles, added: “We are very excited to be helping the Great Run Company achieve its commercial goals. Our data-led approach will help them support partners in reaching highly targeted audiences in interesting and innovative ways.”

Mike Hoban of Morrisons, said: “We are pleased with our sponsorship of the 2015 Great Run Series which has seen thousands of our customers and staff running and raising millions for charity. Morrisons is now reviewing its marketing strategy and has decided to focus on other ways to reach customers. We wish The Great Run Company every success in encouraging so many people to participate in the UK’s fastest growing sport.”

The Great Run Company specialises in the development, design, organisation and rights management of mass participation and televised sporting events. They own a portfolio of over 38 individual events delivered annually through running, swimming and cycling. Events see over 300,000 participants taking part each year, securing over 25 hours of television programmes with some of the world’s best performing athletes.