Sailing Sponsorship Case Study: Rockport and Telefonica 2


The Volvo Ocean Race has ended and the next edition is well into the planning stages. Not all sponsorships are big title deals. There are opportunities for companies to partner with teams and events at all levels. We caught up with Rockport to ask them about their tie up with Telefonica in the recent Volvo Ocean Race.

Y$ – Why has Rockport chosen The Volvo Ocean Race as a mechanism to promote the company & brand?

With a foundation in Boston, MA, the Rockport brand has a strong nautical heritage and first introduced boat shoes in 1989 by merging its heritage of walking shoe comfort with the technology needed in a boat shoe. Rockport is known for putting its boat shoes to the test with international sailing crews. In 1994, Rockport sponsored the Whitbread ‘Round the World Race and, most recently, Rockport outfitted the Assa Abloy team in the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race in Rockport’s Caspian shoes with HydromotionTM technology.

Y$ – Were other types of sailing besides the Volvo Ocean Race considered?

Rockport has a history with the international world race. In 1994, Rockport became the official boat shoe supplier of the prestigious Whitbread ‘Round the World Race, which later became known at The Volvo Ocean Race. Based on the success of the initial sponsorship, Rockport sponsored a team in the 2001-2002 world ocean race, which was very successful. Rockport didn’t consider other types of sailing because it has had such a great experience with previous races

Y$ -Why was Telefonica Team chosen as the platform for the sponsorship?

The relationship between Rockport and the Telefonica team started as a simple seeding project in Spain. However, we recognized it could be a bigger opportunity and become another key milestone in the brand’s nautical/boat shoe history. We are fortunate enough to have been able to partner with them. Through their work and passion for sailing, they’re allowing us to tell our product story and to help show the authenticity in our performance footwear.

Y$ – Are there stops on the Volvo Ocean Race that are more important than others from a marketing point of view?

Certainly, the Telefonica teams’ one and only North American stop in Boston – Rockport’s home – was significant because the teams were presented with special edition styles of Rockport’s HydroPlex boat shoe (redesigned in the teams’ colors – one blue, one black – and including the Telefonica logo) to wear while embarking on the final stretch of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Y$ -What are the success factors in terms of the sponsorship?

Rockport considers this sponsorship a success due to the Telefonica teams’ overwhelmingly positive response to the HydroPlex boat shoe. Their satisfaction with the shoe’s performance, including water drainage technology and a rubber outsole offering great traction even on wet, slippery surfaces further demonstrates the authenticity of the product.

Y$ – How will you measure whether you have achieved your goals?

Rockport has achieved their most important goal – providing a boat shoe for the Telefonica team that is stylish, but also performs technically and can withstand the intense weather conditions the team has faced on the race worldwide.

Y$ -You’re using a bunch of social media platforms to activate the sponsorship – how are these working for you?

We’re currently compiling RockportSailing.com unique visitor numbers to date, but the RockportSailing Facebook page has over 1000 fans and almost 80 followers on twitter.

Y$ – Are you using specialist experts to integrate the social media part of your campaign?

We are working closely with our brand partners to develop the best future for rockport and social media. For this particular exercise, we worked closely with our media team at Carat to creatively and quickly develop the content and ideas.

See how Rockport activated their sponsorship via a special microsite at: http://www.rockportsailing.com/

  • Jennifer

    That's interesting, I completely missed their involvement with Telefonica and the race…

  • Jennifer

    That's interesting, I completely missed their involvement with Telefonica and the race…