Volvo Ocean Race Half Way – The Numbers.


Numbers are hard to get for sailing. The sport is only just waking up to the fact that sponsors want measurable return on investment, not blurry estimations of reach. The days of measuring TV impressions using ‘households’ are coming to an end and being replaced by the stark, real numbers of Youtube views and registered email fans. The Volvo Ocean Race is the best in the business when it comes to laying out their numbers. While the relative expense of the Race means that there are less boats in the water, those that are competing are getting a pretty good Return on Investment.

The Volvo Ocean Race has issued a mid-race report, showing results to date for the 2008-09 event. The mid-term report card shows a significant increase in the areas of spectator numbers, media exposure and return on investment.

While those in the UK complain about the ‘good old days’, new markets are embracing the sport. Volvo deserves huge credit for opening markets like India and China. Extending the footprint of the race into new territories, particularly Asia, has taken the appeal and fascination of the race to unprecedented levels.

Here then are the numbers for ‘traditional media’.

  • Visitors to the race villages so far – 2,350,392 (156% increase)
  • Footfall for stopover in China – 811,677
  • Peak day crowd for India – 107,287
  • Cumulative TV audience – 547,251,706
  • Chinese TV Audience – 268,968,000
  • News Outlets – 319 in 200 countries
  • Media Accreditations 1,556 (30% increase)
  • Press cuttings – 6624 in 14 monitored territories
  • Picture desks taking imagery from the race – 5,000
  • Syndicated media value US$65 Million

Here are the numbers for multimedia.

In multimedia terms, the race delivers an unparalleled experience – from multilingual websites to a dedicated broadband TV channel, mobile capability and a phenomenally successful online sailing game.

  • Official Website Visitors – 2.41 million visitors (39% increase)
  • Official Website Visits – 13.95 million (51% increase)
  • VolvoOceanRace.tv unique visitors – 738,000
  • Videos viewed on VolvoOceanRace.tv – 2,000,000
  • Average viewing time per visitor – 49 Minutes
  • Videos posted on Youtube – 300
  • Views on Youtube – 655,821
  • Mobile channel – 180% increase on 2005-2006

And let’s not forget the Volvo Ocean Race online game. Don’t tell me that sailing is complicated!

  • Volvo Ocean Race Game players – 180,000
  • Number of countries that online game players come from – 180 countries.

So there is an audience for sailing out there.

The report also discusses what sponsors and teams are getting out of the race. While there are calls for costs to be reduced, those that are activating their sponsorships well are happy with their return on investment. More on that tomorrow.