Imagine taking the word Cowes out of the title of Cowes Week and call it something else. Of course it would never happen because as every single PR release and news article reminds us – it is the ‘oldest and most prestigeous’ regatta in the world.
Geelong Week, in Melbourne Australia, doesn’t have quite the history that Cowes Week does, so when it too lost its Skandia sponsorship, the powers that be decided that the word Geelong could be dropped altogether.
Long time supporter of Australian sailing, Audi, has assumed the naming rights to Geelong’s iconic annual sailing event in a re-branding that will see the region’s identity removed from the event’s title.
Geelong Week, formally Skandia Geelong Week, will now be known as Audi Victoria Week.
The Geelong Advertiser, a local paper resports event organiser Doug Jarvis as saying that the Victorian re-branding was needed for the historic event to gain a greater foothold in a national market that had failed to embrace the event because of its regional identity.
“It’s very difficult when you start a yacht race (in Melbourne) that has the name of a regional city because quite often it’s ignored by the capital city because of its name. The reason they’re not watching it is because they don’t know anything about it. The reason they don’t know anything about it is because (Geelong) doesn’t capture the mainstream metropolitan media.”
He reassured locals that the name change was not part of a long term plan to relocate the event.
“It’s owned by Royal Geelong Yacht Club, it’s very much part of the fabric of the local community and it won’t be going anywhere.”
Geelong Otway Tourism chief Roger Grant said the broader name would widen the exposure net for the region and showcase Geelong to a previously untapped market.
“Obviously from my point of view I would like to see Geelong in the name, but the event will still have a wonderful opportunity to market Geelong in Melbourne and throughout Victoria, as well as nationally and internationally.”