It’s always interesting to speculate in the new era of instant news and communication whether or not a savvy team of PR and media folk leak information with intent, or whether they are still caught out by the way the new world order works. The Volvo Ocean Race have made official, news that France will host a stopover of the 2011-12 race. Confirmation of the news came today at 12:00, though some media had ignored the embargo and released the information earlier.
Lorient, in Brittany on the northwest coast of France will be the penultimate stopover for the 2011-12 event. The deal is for two editions of the race, which will give promoters and investors a chance to develop infrastructure and receive the economic benefits over a longer payback period. Multiple edition deals are good for everyone and show the strength of the Volvo Ocean Race proposition. It is also very important for the Volvo Ocean Race to be relevant to the passionate French sailing market.
Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race CEO said:
“We are extremely pleased to have a strong French presence in the race. It has long been our goal to reignite the passion of this classic event among the French people and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with the city of Lorient to host the event for two consecutive races.”
Norbert Metairie, Mayor of Lorient and President of Cap l’Orient Council said:
“Over the last 10 years, Lorient has transformed its submarine base into a European-wide sailing cluster, hosting a business centre dedicated to yachting activities where maxi trimarans ‘Banque Populaire V’ and ‘Groupama 3’ were built. It also hosts an offshore sailing centre of about 50 teams including France’s most famous skippers. Today we are pleased to have demonstrated that Lorient is a perfect site to host international events such as the Volvo Ocean Race which will undoubtedly yield significant benefits.”
The move is a smart one for the Volvo Ocean Race. While most other global sailing platforms are struggling to announce formats, venues and teams for their next events, the VOR is locking in a secure proposition for the next 5 years over two editions. This long term approach gives security to sponsors and partners and allows potential teams to make long term plans. With every announcement of this kind, the Volvo Ocean Race positions itself as being more commercial, more professional and therefore more invest-able than events like the America’s Cup or the Louis Vuitton Series.