Deep pock­ets

Yachting World - - Front Page -

Be­sides El­li­son’s own very deep pock­ets, Sailgp has al­ready at­tracted some com­mer­cial fund­ing. Louis Vuit­ton is a found­ing part­ner, as is Land Rover, Ben Ainslie’s for­mer Amer­ica’s Cup backer.

“[Land Rover] were very dis­ap­pointed, I know, when Ineos took over the Amer­ica’s Cup team and they made it clear to me that they do still want to sup­port sail­ing,” com­ments Sir Keith Mills, whose sports man­age­ment com­pany CSM is de­liv­er­ing the UK stage of Sailgp.

The am­bi­tion is for teams to bring in their own back­ers. With run­ning costs of just US$5 mil­lion per year, teams should be able to turn a profit with a rel­a­tively small in­vest­ment. Costs are capped by a team per­son­nel limit of 18 for the first year, and shared boat­yard ser­vices. The goal is for teams to build a suf­fi­cient fan base and be prof­itable enough to have real longevity – of at least a decade.

Part of the ap­peal of the event to spon­sors, Coutts says, is there is al­most zero risk. “If, for ex­am­ple, a spon­sor is in­ter­ested in me­dia re­turn, we can agree on what that me­dia re­turn should be. We can say ‘OK, if we don’t de­liver you don’t pay’. And be­cause we’re pro­duc­ing the tele­vi­sion and con­trol­ling all of the mar­ket­ing, we can have the con­fi­dence to do that.”

Cur­rently the teams are sim­ply named af­ter their home na­tion. The na­tion­al­ity rule is not ap­plied evenly across the fleet – for this cy­cle France, Britain, USA and Aus­tralia must have a 100% na­tional sail­ing team, while China and

Ja­pan must have 40% of sailors from their home na­tion.

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