Bay to Breakers, the irrepressible foot race held in San Francisco every spring, has found itself in a pickle. The event has lost its primary corporate sponsor.
Redwood City-based printing company Zazzle has dropped out as the race's top-line sponsor.
Bay to Breakers General Manager Angela Fand told San Francisco Chronicle columnists Matier & Ross that, even if the race is unable to locate a suitable replacement by the third Sunday in May, Bay to Breakers will still go on "whether we find one or not."
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While the sponsor shoulders much of the cost of the race (in exchange for a good deal of publicity), the race itself is owned by billionaire Philip Anshutz, head of the AEG entertainment conglomerate that also owns the Los Angeles Lakers and previously controlled the San Francisco Examiner.
Starting in the mid-1960s, the Examiner served as the race's sponsor for nearly four decades. However, in recent years, sponsorship has bounced around to a handful of different companies, including grocery store chain Albertsons, Dutch banking group ING and most recently Zazzle, which took over in 2011.
Bay to Breakers was started in 1912 as a way to boost civic morale in a city that had been devastated by a massive earthquake less than a decade earlier. It gradually evolved from a fairly standard format to the festival of costumes and debauchery that the event is famous for today. It currently stands as the longest consecutively running footrace in the world.
The race, reportedly a money-loser for years despite record registration, has also gotten a spate of bad publicity of late due to widespread drunkenness and complaints of public urination from neighborhood residents.
This year's Bay to Breakers is scheduled for Sunday, May 19.
We've assembled a list of other possible sponsors for Bay to Breakers we'd hope to see. Got any ideas? Be sure to weigh in in the comments.