The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-07-01

Sport : 21 : 13

Sport

13 The Daily Telegraph Wednesday 1 July 2020 *** Hare has wind behind her as new sponsor rescues lifelong dream sure, but in the meantime we have a window to showcase other athletes and other sports and diversify our consumptio­n of sport.” Hare said she was hugely thankful her story was picked up, adding that it was “brilliant” to see examples, such as Justin Rose and his wife Kate committing to sponsor a series of women’s golf tournament­s for British profession­als after reading, in that the Women’s Open had no sponsor or broadcast partner. She stressed her point about giving diverse voices a platform, adding: “I know how lucky I am, because I’ve had that exposure and the chance to tell my story. This has changed my life for ever. I really think it has. It means I can do the race that I really wanted to do. “Medallia are perfect partners. The CEO is a sailor himself and they are really keen to back a female skipper. They’ve got a big push on gender equality in the tech industry. So all the stars aligned really.” Hare says Medallia will cover Endurance sailor tells how she is targeting the Vendee Globe after backing from US software company Tom Cary T he email arrived out of the blue. It was only two lines long. But it has, says Pip Hare, changed her life for ever. The 46-year-old ocean sailor, who is planning to compete in the 2020-21 Vendee Globe race beginning at the start of November, will this morning announce Medallia, a San Francisco-based software company, as her new title sponsor. The six-figure deal ensures Hare has the budget to complete the refit of her 60ft IMOCA yacht Superbigou, which is back in the water after six months. It also caps a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the sailor, who gave an emotional interview to at the beginning of May when she revealed that she had lost her backing as a result of the coronaviru­s pandemic and was even questionin­g whether she should continue her campaign. “It’s so hard to know what the right thing to do is,” Hare said then. “Businesses are facing ruin. I don’t want to be that person who sticks their hand up and says, ‘What about me?’ On the other hand, this is my dream, my business, my entire life. I’ve invested everything in this.” Apparently, someone was listening. Hare received her fateful email from the chief executive of Medallia, Scottish businessma­n Leslie Stretch, asking if sponsorshi­p opportunit­ies were still available. “We had our first Zoom call and he made a verbal agreement to a silver sponsorshi­p package,” Hare said. “Then he said he wanted to introduce me to his head of marketing and events. They signed a letter of intent agreeing to title sponsorshi­p, then three weeks of negotiatin­g and we signed the deal. “It’s incredible. All of the doors I’ve knocked on, the meetings I’ve had over the last 18 months, and somebody came to me and basically committed to title sponsorshi­p within three days.” Hare believes her story demonstrat­es the vital importance of media exposure for minority sports and for women’s sport in particular. In her May interview, she had said that she felt her campaign offered great value for money for sponsors – a female sailor taking on “the Everest of sailing” for the first time in her mid-40s. “The Vendee is one of very few major sports events this year which can say, with some certainty, that it is going ahead,” Hare said. “Yet every morning all I hear about are things that aren’t happening and footballer­s’ salaries. Convention­al sport will start up again, that is for The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph What’s the pecking order of fast bowlers? England’s pace bowling strength is such that Mark Wood (above) who took nine wickets in his last Test has declared that he is not in the best XI at home. But with six home Tests in two months, England will need their full pace bowling stocks in good working order – – Sponsorshi­p lifeline: Pip Hare says her US backer is keen to support a female skipper statistica­l tool that provides greater context than traditiona­l batting and bowling averages. Before England Lions’ game against Australia A in Melbourne in February, Bobat briefed players on the template to win in Australia. England Lions then beat Australia A for the first time in a first-class game. Three strong performers in that win – Ollie Robinson, Dan Lawrence and James Bracey – are among the uncapped players in the 30. At the start of March, Bobat spoke about the need to grow England’s pool of internatio­nal players to compete in all formats. The intensity of the summer schedule – so far, 36 days of internatio­nal cricket are scheduled in 56 days – brought about by Covid-19 has accelerate­d this process further. It has also made the need for depth in pace bowling even more acute. Since the 2017-18 Ashes, when their attack was exposed, England have focused on building more variety in their attack. For now, at least, England have an almost unpreceden­ted luxury: four fit 90mph bowlers, with Olly Stone and Saqib Mahmood alongside Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. The hiatus in cricket will bring heightened risks of injury and the relentless schedule will mean workloads have to be managed. How England manage James Anderson and Stuart Broad will be intriguing. There seems scant chance of both players making the 2021-22 Ashes, but with reaching the inaugural World Test Championsh­ip final a priority, England have no hard-and-fast rule about, say, only selecting one of the pair in any Test. The aim to build greater bowling options can also be seen in the spin attack, which includes off-spin, legspin and left-arm spin. Assembling the batting line-up is comparativ­ely simpler, given the strong displays in South Africa. At this stage, it seems the only change to the top seven will be Rory Burns, fit again, slotting in for Joe Root, whose wife is giving birth. In keeping with the template that Root and Chris Silverwood, the coach, have laid out for Test cricket – of batting time and absorbing pressure at the top of the order – that would mean Burns opening with Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley at three and Joe Denly moving to four. One of the quartet would then give way when Root returns. The selection of wicketkeep­er Bracey in the group is instructiv­e. England are well-stocked in that area, but he is regarded as having the defensive technique to be a future top-three Test player. Root, Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope seem locked in at four, five and six, so the top three is a more plausible route for young batsmen. The three-day intra-squad game beginning today will be a useful gauge of fitness and match readiness, but is unlikely to have a huge bearing on who makes the reduced squad of 20-22 players. The work of recent years has all been done with reducing the salience of players’ performanc­es in one-off games in favour of a body of work and skill set most likely to help England win. But the multifario­us challenges that await in this unique summer mean that, if they are to be successful, it will be a triumph of the squad. “around two thirds” of her hopedfor budget, which is somewhere north of £800,000. She stresses that is still a “very small budget” for the Vendee Globe, almost certainly the smallest in the fleet. One last gold-level sponsor would enable her to employ a full-time team. But her presence in Les Sables d’Olonnes, in November, is at least assured now. Not only has she been able to upgrade her autopilot and some of the electronic­s, as well as buy new sails, she has been able to appoint a project manager, Joff Brown, who has vast experience of IMOCA racing. With heavy winds forecast for the rest of this week, Hare says she plans to start “shakedown” sailing on Monday. This has been her longest spell off the water in her entire life and she needs to get her confidence back after six months. “I’ll sail over to Ireland and down to the Azores and just cut loose from everything and get my head back in it,” she says. “But this is all I’ve ever wanted my entire life. It’s incredible. Really incredible.”

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