With 11 days to go, the 33rd America’s Cup has finally discovered two words that have been missing for months. Of course we are not talking about ‘mutual’ and ‘consent’ – the latest news from Valencia contains the words ‘Fan’ ‘Experience.’
[cleeng_content id=”720344748″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]For this strange sporting spectacle, where commercial rights are complicated and hotly contested, the logistics of putting on a memorable event for fans is something that has been very much an afterthought. With question marks over the venue existing right up until the last minute, and the complication of practically watching such large, fast vessels, the 33rd America’s Cup has to date been about the billionaires, not the sailing public.
The Société Nautique du Genève (SNG), trustee of the America’s Cup, has delegated the responsibility for organising the media and event activities for the 33rd America’s Cup to Consorcio Valencia 2007.
The race course will be up to six times bigger than the ones used in the 32nd America’s Cup, so TV, specifically coverage from the air will be the only way to view the event. Most television networks will have their sporting teams in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics or in Miami for the Superbowl, so the chances of AC organisers getting a commercial TV deal were always going to be a challenge.
Luckily, niche sports that can’t get on ‘proper’ TV now have the internet. Thankfully for long suffering AC fans, the races will be broadcast live and free of charge through www.americascup.com.
Jorge Gisbert, General Director of Consorcio Valencia 2007 has been dropped in at the deep end. An event that should have had many months of preparation now has to be turned around in a much shorter time period. The existing infrastructure will help a great deal, and the team of professionals will do their best to recover from the position that they have been put into by seemingly endless legal challenges.
Nobody would expect this cup to be as successful as the event in 2007 which is widely regarded as one of the best ever. Nevertheless, Gisbert and his team are working hard to play catch up and rescue the event. He says:
This America’s Cup is a totally different proposition and now we are responsible for the organisation and we have a very limited amount of time. We are going to push our creativity and work capacity to the maximum. It is necessary to have a team of professionals that are used to work together and who are ready to do it 24 hours a day. In addition to the staff of Consortio Valencia 2007, I have surrounded myself with people that enjoy aiming for the ‘impossible’.”
The event team are also putting a much sidelined group of stakeholders at the forefront of their thinking. Fans would be forgiven for completely boycotting the event in Valencia. They have had their faces slapped over and over again by the two teams competing. But fans are by definition fanatical – deep down, they want the America’s Cup to stand for something good and aspirational again and so the die-hard supporters will head to Valencia in the off-season, bear the brunt of cold temperatures and fierce winds, without any guarantee that they will see anything.
Luckily, Jorge Gisbert and his team have the fans in mind.
“We will welcome fans with an inauguration event on February 7th. From the first race, scheduled for the 8th February, they will be able to watch the races live on a giant screen, get official merchandising and enjoy a range of activities for kids, youngsters and families. Also, there will be food and beverage points with Swiss, American and, of course, Spanish food. We want to create a special atmosphere a great fan experience.”
The Official America’s Cup Twitter Feed can be found here…[/cleeng_content]