Our thinking has been all wrong. Ever since the New York Court of Appeals brought down their verdict in favour of the Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW ORACLE, we have taken the position that the best thing that the new Challenger of Record and the Defender could do, would be to dispense with a Deed of Gift Match and opt for a multichallenger event.
This was obviously a view taken from the point of view of a non-American fan, or the Commercial Director of a team like Emirates Team New Zealand or TEAMORIGIN. Our argument was that a multichallenger event may stop these teams from disspearing altogether, putting more pressure on an already depressed industry.
But why should businessmen Larry Ellison and Ernesto Betarelli care about other team’s sponsors? This is a great sponsorship opportunity for their commercial partners. If I was the Marketing Director of BMW, a DOG match with only one other opponent guarantees more share of media coverage. Instead of being 1 of 20 potential sponsors, I am one of two. 50% of the coverage of a DOG match is about my brand.
Here is an opportunity for any media that still care about the America’s Cup to write about a handful of commercial partners for 10 months, without having to devote column inches, airtime or web-pages to other team’s sponsors and distractions.
It’s something we really should have thought about earlier, but I guess we were in a more ‘winning by sharing’ frame of mind. Given some of the statements from series like the iShares Cup and sponsors of the Vendee Globe, we really should have taken a step into the shoes of Alinghi and BMW ORACLE earlier.
Mark Turner, CEO of OC Group, has said that the iShares Cup should have a maximum number of boats per series. This is because on the one hand, eXtreme 40 catamarans at close quarters could get messy, but it also guarantees sponsors a certain share of the coverage. The Vendee Globe has also used the same argument – 30 boats is the maximum that can be accommodated on the docks at the start, but also being 1 out of 30 sponsors means your campaign gets lost in the noise of brands.
Even Louis Vuitton could sign up to that. How exclusive can you get? No dog food or pizza sponsors, no riff-raff, just an American billionaire versus a European billionaire – just like the good old days.
So, providing BMW ORACLE and Alinghi keep some high profile Kiwis and Aussies to guarantee a little bit of interest from fans in the southern hemisphere, and choose a venue in Europe to keep a couple of casual fans interested in that part of the world – the DOG match could be a sponsor’s dream and deliver real return on investment for a lucky few.
Scott Mcleod – Chairman of Force10 Marketing says different : Click to read what he has to say.