I’ve got a great idea. There’s this worldwide sporting event that does quite well. Has some sponsors, has good media coverage and backing from the governing body. If we got some good drivers together we could do something similar, with open-wheel style cars. We can have some street circuits and some track circuits and we could call it Formula World Uno. Of course it is not a great idea because if I tried to do anything like that, the FIA and the current rights holders of Formula 1 would only have to look in my direction to kill the whole thing dead.
But sailing is not motorsport and ISAF isn’t the FIA. In fact, the world governing body is considered so irrelevant to entrepreneurial promoters, that it seems they can create an event and not even ask ISAF if it’s okay. In an interview with Valencia Sailing, the new President of the World Match Racing Tour, Peter Gilmour revealed publicly that the recently announced Louis Vuitton (World) Series has no rights to use the word World in the title or to make the claim that it is the premier match racing event in the world. These rights are protected by a contractual arrangement between ISAF and ProMatch Ltd.
Though the two events are probably good for each other and sailing, it is quite amazing that the Louis Vuitton event could get so far down the track without entering into a dialogue with ISAF or the World Match Racing Tour. Either the WSTA were naive to the contractual rights granted to ProMatch – which is unlikely, or there was an arrogance that assumed that ISAF would just roll over and accept the new event as proposed.
The relevant part of a much longer and far reaching interview is here:
Valencia Sailing: This is, more or less, the same message Louis Vuitton and the World Sailing Team Association wanted to convey in their presentation in Paris 2 weeks ago. They want to build a top-tier professional match-racing series around the world. They call it the LV World Series and even the format is quite similar, since teams race in boats provided by the organization. Can you comment on that?
The situation with the LV Series is, in our opinion, very clear. Essentially, the exclusive rights to use the word “World” and be the premier match racing series or tour in the world, outside of the America’s Cup, have been given to ProMatch Tour Ltd. This is very clear and unequivocal. Obviously, the LV proposed series got going without consideration for that and they didn’t even talk to ISAF beforehand. I understand ISAF has written and asked them not to proceed using the words “World Series” and they haven’t received any approval. We plan to meet with Louis Vuitton and the WSTA people in about a week’s time and it really comes down to our right to sanction them, if we so wish. That’s really pretty much where the situation is. We haven’t received anything from them, no information whatsoever. Right now it’s wait and see.