12 months ago, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series was an experiment. On the other side of the world, in New Zealand, in what would be considered neutral ground (were the vast majority of both remaining America’s Cup teams not Kiwi), ten teams, including the current Challenger and Defender of the America’s Cup, competed over two weeks in a match race regatta in two pairs of supplied boats. The boats used were ACC yachts from the 2007 America’s Cup and all teams rotated through the four boats.
It was to become the formula for the Louis Vuitton Trophy. In 2010, the LVT will replace the vacuum left by the America’s Cup shambles, but it remains to be seen what will happen to it if any certainty is restored as a result of the Deed of Gift match in Valencia next week.
Even though the Louis Vuitton Paciffic Series was relatively hastily arranged, it was enough of a success to lead to the formation of the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) who, along with the city of Auckland will organise the regatta from 9-21 March. The Louis Vuitton Trophy will be part of a larger aquatic festival, staged from the same venue and at the same time as the Auckland International Boatshow (10-14 March) in Auckland’s Downtown Viaduct Basin.
The WSTA member teams entered for the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta are from seven countries. Unlike last year, the host Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Dean Barker, will not get an automatic pass to the regatta finals, but will have to earn the right to be there by passing through the round robin and semi final stages with a winning record. The seven other teams hoping to also make it to the finals and ultimately prevail are:
- Aleph (France, skipper Bertrand Pacé)
- All4One (France/Germany, skipper Jochen Schumann)
- Artemis (Sweden, skipper Paul Cayard)
- Azzurra (Italy, skipper Francesco Bruni)
- Mascalzone Latino Audi (Italy)
- Synergy (Russia, skipper Karol Jablonski)
- TEAMORIGIN (Great Britain, skipper Ben Ainslie)
The press release for the Auckland event also includes media value numbers for the event held in Nice in November last year. It is an interesting comparison to the numbers issued by the Extreme Sailing Series Europe (ESSE) last week.
OC Events had their entire series of six events valued at €5.9 Million by an independent agency. According to the WSTA, the single Nice regatta had a provisional media value of over €9 Million. The WSTA number relates to 1200 articles (versus 894 for ESSE) and 354 hours of TV (versus 535 for ESSE).
The two organisations obviously use very different mechanisms to value their media return. Both can be rationalised, but such discrepancies make it hard for outsiders to make informed judgements about investments in the sport.
More information about the Auckland round of the Louis Vuitton Trophy here…