The ISAF Conference has been talking about sponsorship.
Alberto Predieri, the President of the International 470 Class Association, an ISAF Committee member and part of the Working Party on advertising said:
‘the decision to carry advertising should stay with the competitor.’
That said, the new Code also makes provision for certain spaces for ‘Class Advertising’, a recommendation that the Classes Committee has endorsed in past meetings. However, the space for the Class Advertising has been limited and is only available if a certain set of pre-conditions are met, including approval by a two-thirds majority at the Class General Assembly.
In addition the Class Advertising is only required at events where the Class is either the Organizing Authority or has an agreement with the Organising Authority.
Predieri set out the Working Party’s thinking around these limitations.
‘The most valuable space in on the sails and the sailors should take value from that space. What we wanted to avoid was to dilute the value of this space by forcing the sailors to carry a class sponsor on the sails that may end with a big conflict with their own sponsors. So we went down to the bow, where it is commonly agreed to have an event sponsor, to make that space available to the class sponsor,’ he said.
Addressing the issue of the events at which Class Advertising would be required, Predieri at first pointed to the complexities of a Code which would have to apply equally to regional, national and international events across all Classes. ‘We started from the principal that each class does not organize every regatta each year. So we said we’d give the class sponsor a chance to advertise at the events organized by the class, for example the World Championships or European Championships.
At this stage it would be really difficult to have the class sponsor on all the regattas the class competes in. It’s the best first step for the classes.’
Understandably, in the Classes Committee the issue of Class Advertising was hotly debated and there was significant support for increasing the amount of space available for class advertising.
Some were in favour of pushing for further increases before approving the Submission, however Committee Chair Jeff Martin, appeared to sum up the general mood when he indicated his support for the Submission as a solid step in the right direction, ‘I believe the change to the regulation does a better job and is part of the evolution of catering to all the different aspects of our sport. It’s a development process. It’s probably the third or fourth step in the development phase and I’m sure it will go on a step further,’ said Martin.
By the end of the meeting, that view prevailed and the Committee’s recommendation to the ISAF Council is to Approve Submission 038-08, although with some amendments to the drafted text which will be published in their Recommendations.