An Insight into Regatta Sponsorship in the Caribbean.

A nice article about raising sponsorship for regattas and how Heineken see Yacht sponsorship. Article published in All At Sea (Caribbean Version).

The article talks to; Heather Tackling, director of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Julie San Martin, director of the St. Croix International Regatta and St. Thomas Yacht Club’s International Rolex Regatta, regatta co-director, John Sweeney.

Do Sponsors want to control events?

“Our title sponsor has influence on some aspects of the racing,” says Sweeney. “In exchange, we have course marks bearing their logos and great prizes to award. But on the whole, our sponsors provide us plenty of latitude on how we choose to run the event on and off the water.”

Tackling adds,

“We make it very clear that we will run the event as professionally as possible and will adhere to the ISAF rules of sailing, and that the event is owned by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. We always listen to ideas but it’s important to establish the role of the sponsor from early on.”

What do organizers owe back to sponsors?

“Sponsors look for association with a great product,” says Sweeney. “They want and deserve to be highly visible to our competitors and a part of the local and international news that the event generates.”

Niki Borde, manager of Trinidad & Tobago-based Regatta Promoters who put on the Tobago Carnival Regatta February 10-14, says,

“I tend to place sponsors in different aspects of the regatta, so that they ‘own’ that segment. In this way, they get total coverage in their particular segment. For example, at our regatta, Carib sponsored the beach games and bars, so they got coverage on the beach. Bmobile got the regatta village, so the village was green with their logo.”

In addition to exposure during the event, Tackling says,

“More importantly we offer exposure year round through our website, press releases, poster and brochures. The event is three days but our sponsors gain months and months of exposure which is extremely important. The more you can give them the happier they are.”

What are a few good nuggets of advice on the sponsorship front? Sweeney says,

“Stay focused on delivering a memorable event to the competitors and involve a potential sponsor to the fullest extent possible. Don’t forget, we’re marketing a product just like they are.”

Borde says,

“I would advise a promoter to create a very comprehensive proposal, giving a good overall view of what they want to accomplish and the value of the event to the Sponsor and the community. And, one of the many “don’ts” for me is, never use a negative word in your presentation. Also, never beg for money. If you have to, then your event is not worth the investment or you don’t know what you are doing. If you present a good proposal and you have a confident manner, more often than not they will want in. Let them ask how much. Then, hit them for all you can get.”


John Leone, director of Heineken St. Maarten/St. Martin, says,

“Over the years, we became partners with the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.”

Leone says,

“We take on all the costs and work involved in throwing the famous Heineken Regatta parties. This is a huge undertaking considering the parties are held in multiple locations around Sint Maarten and Saint Martin. We coordinate all the bands, sound, lights, drinks, food, permits etc. It takes all year to plan and execute the operational tasks for the regatta, as it takes the Sint Maarten Yacht club all year to promote and organize the sailing race. The yacht club can rest at night, while we handle all the evening entertainment.”

“We are also able to work with other sponsors to bring added elements to the event,” Leone adds. “Because the event is as big and the island is so small, we like to say ‘it takes the whole island to throw a party this big!’ It’s true. If we did not get help from the two Island Governments and other businesses around the island we would never be able to pull off such a world-class event.”

Read the whole article at