The World Match Racing Tour is an interesting event in sailing terms – with central control allowing certainty of events, but the legal battle engulfing the America’s Cup has seen a 60% decrease in business with sponsors moving on to other sports or re-allocating budgets elsewhere.
Tour boss Scott McLeod says that the structure of the event helps in these troubled times: “The World Tour is fine since our cost basis is low and we do not rely on transporting expensive equipment and the owners that are needed to fund that equipment.”
However, while there is certainty for the tour and the events, teams were not guaranteed entry to the events, making it difficult to raise sponsorship and plan for the future.
The Tour has announced a new invite policy for the 2009 season aimed at redressing this issue. The press release makes it seem incredibly complicated, but the aim is to reward skippers and teams to enable them to better plan their season of competition. It will also help events know in advance who will be competing and how best to leverage this for promotion and for sponsor fulfillment purposes.
The complete policy can be read at http://www.worldmatchracingtour.com/da/91299
- 10-event schedule,
- Example 12-team format in the competition,
- 8 invitations will be allocated by the World Tour,
- 2 invitations to winners of qualifying events,
- 2 or more wildcard invites will go to each event promoter
- The 8 invitations from the World Tour to be called the “World Tour Card” (WTC).
- WTC holders get guaranteed invitation to all but the final event.
The scheme is reminiscent of the way US Golf structured their game to force big names like Tiger Woods to compete in domestic championships. There will be incentive for teams to participate on the Tour since the top four in the World Championships get a WTC for the next year.