Imagine if we didn’t have the America’s Cup to worry about. Just think about the finances, time and energy that could be put into making sailing a viable alternative to some of those sports that start with N. You know, NFL, NCAA, NBA, NASCAR…
Thankfully someone was actually thinking when they read our (slightly tongue in cheek) case for a one-one-one clash of carbon mutihulls. Scott McLeod, Chairman of Force10 Marketing and now Sr. Vice President, Business Development for the SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR thinks that Edition 32 got it pretty right from a sponsorship point of view. Here are his comments in full….
I tend to stay away from responding but I thought I should weigh in on the Commercial Value of a DOG Match as I do have some experience here and have to disagree with the analysis presented.
First, the DOG Match will be 2 or 3 races at best so the sponsors will only get exposure in those races. Compare this with the number of televised matches during the last LV Series and AC finals and there is no comparison. You may think that a DOG match with two billionaires going head to head would get greater television coverage and ratings but quite the contrary. There would only be two countries represented so only those two TV markets would care compared with the number of countries interested in a multi challenger event (Germany, Italy, UK, Spain, etc.). You may get hire news coverage because of the sheer anomaly and history of the event but compared to a 5 month long LV and AC event there is again no comparison. I also don’t believe that the nature of a DOG Match will be the greatest image for those brands (or the sport) during these economic times. Actually, this would be a huge negative.
Second, the hospitality opportunity would again be limited to 2 races at best as you couldn’t guarantee the 3rd race. 2 races would greatly limit your opportunity to host customers compared with a 5 month long LV & AC Series. Yes, a DOG Match would be a “once in a lifetime” opportunity but only for a limited amount of very key customers. For this type of customer you would probably have to follow the racing from helicopters due to the speed and spread. This would further limit the number of customers and your ROI per head
Having worked closely with several of the major sponsors of the 32nd AC, Valencia was a commercial home run. There were some issues with television but all in all it was very successful for the commercial sailing market and most of the sponsors that participated. Most people are not aware of what’s been going on in the courts as they only expect an AC every 3-4 years. A multi-challenger event in 2010-11 could possibly revive the Cup as a major sports property on the world stage. However, a DOG Match (which may be fun) will present sailing as an elitist, wasteful sport for the rich which I believe will do more harm than good.
I hope that Ernie, Larry, Russell, and Brad will see this as well.
Here’s to a PROPER debate.