The America’s Cup 33rd Edition might have been a triumph for technology, but it did nothing to dispel the perceptions that sailing is a sport for rich white men. Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts have said that the next edition will be fair and be run by independent management, but the consultation process will be initially with the WSTA – another group of rich white men.
[cleeng_content id=”124084492″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]At the moment, the America’s Cup community, despite the mess of America’s Cup 33, are only looking at America’s Cup 34. The nature of the cup doesn’t lend itself to long term strategic change – just event to event management. This is where the organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race and the Extreme Sailing Series have an advantage. Apart from being commercially funded, therefore compelled to create a better product, the leaders of these events can shape the future for not just the next event, but the one after that and so on.
The Volvo Ocean Race has worked closely with external consultants, the Boston Consulting Group, to look at the sport and the event from a completely different angle and as a result, the race has innovated, not just through technology, but by identifying new growth markets.
The America’s Cup is unique and quirky and many love the fact that it is the preserve of rich white men, but for the cup to be a truly global sporting competition in the modern world, it needs to become more diverse. If the sport of NASCAR, with its roots in the deep south of America can embrace diversity, then so too can the America’s Cup.
NASCAR, which is one of the best sports marketing operations on the planet this week celebrated the outstanding accomplishments of pioneering individuals and organizations in the area of diversity at the third annual NASCAR Diversity Luncheon.
Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR’s Managing Director of public affairs said:
“Teams, tracks, sponsors and other stakeholders play an integral role in our efforts to further diversify our sport. The NASCAR Diversity Awards are a small way to say thank you and recognize just a few of those making a difference in creating awareness and opportunity.”
The America’s Cup has an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often. To stop, step back, have a look at how the event should be run in the interests of all stakeholders including the fans, sponsors, the media and it should look to new markets to encourage teams from less traditional sailing markets.
The WSTA, driven by Louis Vuitton’s requirement to sell luxury luggage to growing markets in Hong Kong and the Middle East, have moved their venues east, just like the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and F1. What should America’s Cup 35 look like? Or America’s Cup 36?
Does the America’s Cup have a wider responsibility to the sport? Perhaps not. Perhaps it can continue to be the preserve of rich white men for many years to come, but with each event it will become a little less relevant. As the speculation begins about the best venue for the next America’s Cup, the custodians should think about what would be best for the long term sustainability of the event and not just which city council will give them the most money.[/cleeng_content]