Extreme Sailing Series 2009 Media Numbers. 2

[cleeng_content id=”653273972″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]The Extreme Sailing Series Europe, previously known as the iShares Cup have released their media analysis of the 2009 season. The organisers, OC Events should be congratulated, not only for having their numbers independently audited, but also making them available. Some might see such transparency as a brave strategy in the current climate, but it shows that sailing can deliver tangible results.

The world of sponsorship and advertising is changing and one of the biggest challenges for those buying and selling sponsorship and advertising is how to measure the value of the results.

For some sailors, it doesn’t matter – many still send sponsorship proposals that are generic presentations of where the race starts and ends, how long the boat is and what the weight of the keel bulb is. For these sailors, sponsorship is more like a donation, the sponsor gets a warm fuzzy feeling that they are in some way helping someone go sailing.

At the other end of the spectrum are events whose very existence is based on whether or not they give value to their commercial partners. Traditionally, measurements like Equivalent Media Value have been used to measure how much  a sponsorship is worth. Some think that it is flawed, but there is no real alternative at the moment.

The Equivalent Media Value approach adds up all the exposure that a sponsor got on various media and then values it as if they had bought it as an advertiser. Here’s an example: If your logo is seen for 1 second 30 times during the Superbowl and the cost of buying 30 seconds of advertising at the Superbowl is $3 million, then the equivalent media value of your sponsorship is $3 million. If you paid $300,000 for your sponsorship, then your return on investment is 10:1.

It’s nice to see a sports property being realistic about their numbers. Compare the hyperbole from the America’s Cup yesterday where a press release talked of  “a massive international audience of over two billion viewers,” with the more grounded figures below.

The headline figure from OC Events was a 40% increase in the value of media coverage versus the previous year, as measured by independent evaluation agency Havas Sponsorship Insights. Havas has conservatively estimated the value of media coverage achieved by the Extreme Sailing Series in 2009 as €5.9million.

Notable numbers from a detailed report covering six markets in Europe include:

  • over 8h 35 minutes of evaluated TV news (only) broadcasts,
  • 894 articles or features evaluated in printed media,
  • 770 articles on the internet,
  • 149 broadcast features evaluated on TV and radio and
  • 228 accredited media attending the seven events (the Paris launch and six events).
  • In addition, UK terrestrial station, Channel 4, broadcast a specially produced stand-alone highlights programme for the first time in 2009 and are now interested in broadcasting a full series of programmes in 2010.

Over 535 hours of TV exposure, between news and programming, was evaluated alongside print exposure in publications with an 82 million cumulative circulation.

OC Group are one of the few sailing properties to value Return on Objectives as highly as the pure ROI numbers. The sponsor, iShares, had very specific goals for the event, some qualitative, that cannot be boiled down into a couple of bullet points. Lou Newlands, Communications Director,  OC Group said:

“We see a lot of figures bandied around the sport which simply don’t correspond to reality, so we prefer to use our independent evaluations primarily to measure our own performance and to drive us to increase quantity and quality of coverage for both the event and team sponsors”,

“We are really pleased with the outcome, particularly in such a tough economic time with the drop in advertising rates (used as basis for evaluation). We decided that we wanted to apply harsher and ‘realistic’ figures on the value of media return for our teams and sponsors. Havas applies these marketplace values to the coverage, evaluating each piece individually, therefore in some areas, particularly the internet, the quantity and quality has increased, but the value is lower than last year. We feel confident in these figures – in particular as a measure on our performance year on year.”

Alastair Macdonald, Director, Havas Sponsorship Insights commented,

“Given the nature and value of the benefits delivered for the title partner iShares, our view would be that, relative to the scale of investment involved from the sponsor, the sponsorship represents a highly cost-effective marketing investment, delivering an extremely favourable rate of return.”

2010 will be an interesting year for the Extreme Sailing Series Europe. Without a title sponsor, there may be innovations that the organisers can implement that are more risky. OC Events say that the PR Strategy will be sent to all teams on 15 March, with an increasing inclusion of social media – empowering tools such as Facebook and Twitter. While such social media are anecdotally very powerful tools, Equivalent Media Value fails to measure them effectively.

A detailed view of the numbers can be found at : http://www.extremesailingserieseurope.com/news.asp[/cleeng_content]