The Audi Med Cup is one of the more commercialized racing series out there and as such is concious of budgets for teams and return on investment for sponsors. The event has announced a series of changes for 2010 aimed at achieving those aims and they estimate that the annual budget for a TP52 campaign with a chance of winning the title will be around €1.78m.
The Audi Med Cup have also borrowed a trick from the iShares Cup playbook and will offer the chance for VIP guests to sail aboard the boats during racing. The series says:
In order to enhance the commercial return to sponsors or to offer owners and crews the chance to take their private guests out racing, there will now be one guest spot on board the TP52 Series and the GP42 Series boats in each race of each regatta. The guests will effectively be right in the middle of the action, each and every race. Crews may choose to change guests each race if they wish, but the clear requirement is that they can have no influence on the performance of the boats, keeping their legs and torso inside, sailing towards the back of the boat.
The budget cuts will come from a series of measures that shouldn’t have any effect on the quality of the racing or the spectacle. They include:
- The weight limit for ‘active’ TP52 crew has been reduced to 1050kgs, down from 1273kgs this season. The savings are estimated to be €30-50,000 per season.
- The number and type of sails has been reduced again for the 2010 season. Expensive masthead Code Zero type headsails will not be allowed. Only 15 sails can be measured in for the season (against the 19 + 3 allowed in 2009), and only four jibs and four spinnakers can be carried on board. Exotic, costly materials have been outlawed for spinnakers which can now only be manufactured in woven polyester or nylon.
- Practise Days will be reduced.
The series have estimated guideline budgets, which represent, typically, both ends of the spectrum, to campaign a GP42 or a TP52
- The budget range for a GP42 is between €467,000 for a charter program covering all five regattas to about €992,000 for a full new build winning boat program, based on selling the boat at season’s end.
- For the TP52 the entry level program is reckoned on being around €800,300 for the season or €1.78m to achieve a potentially winning program based on a new build boat which is sold at season’s end.
Considering there is almost a million bucks difference between the low and high budget for a TP52, does spending the extra money make all the difference? Afonso Domingos (POR) skipper of Bigamist 7 :
” There has been no comparison between our budget and that of other teams. But we have proved certainly this season that even with a small investment it is possible to win races and to be challenging regularly for first place. This was the season where we did spend a little more, with a new boat (to us, the former Platoon), some new sails and some more professional sailors, but that has led to fifth overall and eight race wins over the season (second to Emirates Team New Zealand in victories in the TP52 fleet).”