Airbnb has made few friends among local politicians, but it has a powerful ally in New York Road Runners, which does not regret its four-year sponsorship deal with the home-sharing site, despite the intense regulatory scrutiny Airbnb is facing.
Just this week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a scathing report about Airbnb, finding that nearly three-quarters of the site’s listings in New York amount to illegal hotel operations. He also announced a new joint enforcement initiative with the city to investigate and shut down illegal hotels.
While NYRR, which produces the TCS New York City Marathon, taking place Nov. 2, is steering clear of Airbnb’s political battles, its chief executive, Mary Wittenberg, during an editorial board meeting with Crain’s, explained why the running club signed a “significant” deal with Airbnb.
A chief reason, she said, is that Airbnb helps NYRR develop its running programs throughout the city’s five boroughs, making it easier for runners and their friends to stay in areas of the city where events start and where there are fewer hotels. “Our races start at 7 a.m., so it makes a lot of sense for runners to stay in an Airbnb apartment located near the race,” she said.