Airbnb Is Sponsoring the New York City Marathon. The State Can’t Be Happy About It.

A blog about business and economics.
July 7 2014 5:24 PM

Airbnb to Sponsor NYC Marathon

Runners swarm First Avenue in Manhattan during the 2011 New York City Marathon.

Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

The New York Road Runners are adding a new sponsor to their list for this year's New York City Marathon, and the state might not be too happy about it. Airbnb, the home-sharing and alternative hotel-rental site, announced last week that it had partnered with NYRR to sponsor the iconic race.

"Bringing people together and helping travelers belong anywhere they go is what the Airbnb community is all about, and we know Airbnb hosts will open their doors and welcome runners who can't wait to have an authentic New York experience during this incredible event," the company wrote in an email to New York City users.


The New York attorney general's office only began resolving a months-long conflict with Airbnb over its operations in the state in late May; regulators turned their attention to Airbnb last fall on the suspicion that some landlords were breaking state law by renting out large numbers of apartments for a few days or weeks at a time—essentially operating illegal hotels. As part of a joint deal, Airbnb agreed to hand over "anonymized" data (stripped of personally identifiable information) on its New York hosts. The AG's office was given a year to weed out hosts in violation of local laws and the right to make Airbnb disclose the identities of hosts with suspicious activity.

The NYC Marathon generates $65 million in revenue annually for the hospitality industry—although Airbnb is positioning itself to take a bigger share of that haul. During last year's marathon, more than 10,000 visitors lodged with Airbnb, the company said in its email to New York City users. In a blog post leading up to the event, Airbnb estimated that New Yorkers renting out their homes would earn around $1 million during the weekend to guests from all over the world. Because its investigation of Airbnb is ongoing, the attorney general's office declined to comment on the sponsorship. But depending what the investigation turns up in the next few months, there might be increased tensions between the two when Marathon Weekend rolls around this fall.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
Oct. 23 2014 11:51 AM It Seems No One Is Rich or Happy: I Looked
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.