This is a story that brings together some of the biggest themes in current thinking about yacht racing media and sponsorship. It involves engaging people through social and digital media as well as involving tourism advertising dollars and creating stories that non-sailors can get interested in.
First the travel and tourism angle. Tasmanian Minister for Tourism and the Arts, Michelle O’Byrne, has announced a partnership with the ‘Big Boat Racing Team’ for the 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The partnership will give Tasmania a valuable digital presence and association with some of the biggest names in the online world. The Big Boat Racing Team is headed up by well-known yachting identity, Ludde Ingvall, a previous Sydney to Hobart race winner on two occasions.
So why are Tasmania investing promotional dollars this way?
“This exciting partnership will harness the incredible national and international interest in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, and allow Tasmania to promote itself as a vibrant and exhilarating destination to a global audience. Tasmania will have prominent online exposure through logo placement and direct links to Tourism Tasmania’s website from BigBoatRacing.com – the website that will show the live feed from Big Boat Racing Team’s yacht YuuZoo – and via other social media and networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogger that will carry live text feeds from the crew.
It’s not just about exposure though. As many sponsors are telling us, this is about engaging certain audiences.
“As part of the partnership, Tourism Tasmania will be giving a young Tasmanian yachtsperson the experience of a lifetime, securing them a berth aboard YuuZoo to take part in the 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. They will be blogging during the race, providing insights about Tasmania as well as what it’s like to race in one of the best-known yacht races around the world. We have also secured a place on board for award-winning international photojournalist, David Liscio, whose credits include National Geographic, Sail and Sailing magazines, newspaper USA Today, and AP and Reuters news services.
Travel is one industry that ‘gets’ social media. At the World Travel Market this year in London, many companies realised the strong connection between the way people buy travel online and make research decisions about where to go based on peer reccomendation.
“The digital opportunity this partnership presents for Tasmania is significant and fits very well with our digital marketing strategy for 2010,” Ms O’Byrne said. Social media interaction is a key component of our digital strategy, and for our industry it is vital that we have a channel to provide direct access to information and online bookings for travel to the state, and this partnership delivers that.
The team has done a deal with YouTube to live stream the race fromm the boat. Working with YouTube, and supported by co-sponsors such as Dell, HTC and Logitech, Maxi-Yacht YuuZoo is aiming to reach 500,000 viewers.
For sailors, the PR is a little confusing. The team aims to “set the record for the world’s largest ‘crew’ in a sailing event by bringing a non-spectator sport into the palm of your hand and to living rooms around the world.” The word crew implies that those watching the various feeds will have some kind of active part in the sailing of the boat, but as far as we can tell, those in the digital world will just be along for the ride.
The team’s facebook page is here…
The dedicated YouTube page is here…