Unbundling Sponsorships And Building Sailing Events that Work.

Or… 1000 sailing nights on a mountain lake.

One of the great things about the World Yacht Racing Forum, is a chance to hear stories that you might not otherwise come across. Christian Feichtinger’s presentation is a reminder to those traditional sailing venues not to get complacent. The competition might not be a city on the sea, but a completely new venue that is hungry to create world class events. Traditional F1 venues like Silverstone have had to innovate and commit to bringing infrastructure up to date in order to retain calendar spots.

At the heart of ‘Traunsee Woche’ was a desire to create an event in the ‘off-season’ that delivered tourism and economic benefit to upper Austria. What started as an event for the 470 class now attracts the RC44 circuit to Lake Traunsee and the city of Gmunden.

Those paying attention to the case studies coming out of the World Yacht Racing Forum and elsewhere will notice that Traunsee Woche fits into some of the biggest trends in commercial sailing at the moment. There is government tourism budget and multiple sailing events in the same venue to maximise return for visitors, media and sponors. There is storytelling consistency – the promoters are creating an annual event that is held at the same time every year and the promoters are unbundling sponsorships to be more flexible.

The last point is one that will become more important for those trying to sell sponsorship in sailing, especially in a tough economic climate. In the past packages have been offered to one or two partners. Those packages have bundled up sponsorship benefits in an attempt to show higher value. The downside of bundling lots of different rights into one offer is that the sponsor might not want all of it. Rather than taking out items from the pakcage, rights holders have instead reduced the price of the total bundle and as a result have ‘left sponsorship money on the table’.

Unbundling allows different sponsors to support different elements of the event. It makes sponsorship more affordable and more relevant. Here is a very simple example to show how it might work. Imagine you are a rights holder to a hypothetical event and you have the following assets priced at $100,000;

  • Branding on Boats ($20,000)
  • Hospitality ($50,000)
  • Branding on Web and Social Media ($20,000)
  • Outdoor signage in ‘Race Village’ ($10,000)

One approach would be to add up the price of all of these things and sell them as a $100,000 package. Now imagine that you have a potential sponsor, but they are not really interested in the outdoor signage element of the package. Many rights-holders might discount the package to $90,000 but leave it unchanged – effectively giving the signage element away for free.

Unbundling takes the unwanted activity out of the package altogether, still earning $90,000 but allowing the signage to be sold to another company who value it more highly and thus allowing the $100,000 target to be achieved.

For more information about Traunsee Woche visit http://www.traunseewoche.at or http://www.RC44.at