The World Match Racing Tour is not your average boat race when it comes to sponsorship. Unlike most events, where the hull and sail area are a mobile floating billboard that is the property of the team, the WMRT setup gives this prime real-estate to the event organisers and tour sponsors.
[cleeng_content id=”156525898″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]What many people in the sailing business tend to forget is that the sailing doesn’t matter. Brands don’t really care if their name is on a car, a horse, the side of an opera house or a sailboat as long as the message is seen by the audience they want to communicate with. Most sailing sponsors are businesses that are trying to sell to other businesses, therefore the number of spectators is important, but the visitor experience is even more important.
Andrew Pindar OBE, Chairman of the Pindar Group, believes that the fit between the World Match Racing Tour and Pindar is a good one. Pindar has a long-standing relation with the sport of sailing and has supported sailing campaigns across every level, ranging from grass roots and local community projects, through to match racing and global offshore events at the very pinnacle of the sport. The Pindar owned AlphaGraphics is the title sponsor of the US Sailing Team.
Pindar sees the value in sponsoring the sport of sailing, match racing and the World Match Racing Tour in particular. For more than 25 years, he has been leveraging the sport of sailing as a way of promoting his business. In an interview with Valencia Sailing recently he said:
“I could see that sailing had a lot of connections, a lot of metaphors with it that were relevant to the changing world of my industry,”
Similar to the Pindar Group’s business in a print and electronic media that had advanced tremendously with the advent of digital technology, the sport of sailing in recent years has also been completely revolutionised by the use of advanced technology in the hulls, masts and sails. In addition, sailing helps the company bring its message to the audience that it is serious about conserving the environment.
Printing has been an industry with the stigma of endangering the environment with waste products and with digital revolution that has changed. Hence, Pindar was quick to see the opportunity and relevancy between his business and sailing, and being associated with sailing helps send the message of environmental responsibility.
“I saw that sailing had many assets that would be relevant to the message we wanted to communicate in our marketplace.”
He explained that he has taken and interest in what was taking place in the world of match racing over the last five years. Pindar witnessed the St Moritz Match Race in 2004 and was impressed with the way the event was run especially the fact that spectators could be very close to the action.
“It was exciting, cut-and-thrust, a very good spectacle to watch and the races were understandable to all audiences, regardless of whether they were sailors or not, because races were short, happening in front of your eyes and it was clear which boat was going to finish first, and I thought this was something to learn more about.”
In having taken a liking to the sport, Pindar was introduced to skipper Ian Williams by Peter Holmberg (who was then racing with Alinghi) in 2005. Holmberg told him that Williams was the next big star in match racing and most significantly, that he did not have a sponsor. That was the start of Pindar’s foray into the World Match Racing Tour and being sponsor to Ian Williams.
Pindar saw a good fit with WMRT and the places the Tour visited, as those countries are also very important markets for the company’s business. In addition, the events have great visibility and guests and spectators alike get to experience top-level sailing themselves.
“The key difference with offshore racing for instance, such as the Transat Jacques Vabre or the Vendée Globe, is that, whilst you can follow them on the Internet you cannot really experience it the same way you can with a match racing event, that happens right in front of your eyes.”
He added that another attractive draw is that the match racers spend time during dinner with the guests and make efforts to explain what they did during the race and why they won or lost.
The new WMRT website lists Pindar as an Official sponsor, but the tour has been without a Title Sponsor for some time. Despite being an official world championship with a large international footprint and television coverage, the WMRT has perhaps not made the most of its potential. The new owners of the tour have ambitious plans to change that.
“We decided to partner with the Tour because we could see that it was going to grow and develop and that what Peter Gilmour and Datuk Patrick Lim had achieved with the event in Malaysia was a model of what could be achieved elsewhere on the Tour.”
“I firmly believe the Tour will keep growing and is an exciting proposition for companies to associate with, either on an event basis, by sponsoring a team or as a partner to the Tour itself.” This is why Pindar has been partnering the Tour for the last four years with the main involvement being to promote the Pindar business. Pindar seeks brand exposure – for people to see the Pindar name, visit its website and learn more about what the company does. “It is also a very good avenue to drive traffic to our website and great opportunity to take our best clients to the events.”
Pindar has launched a sailing initiative in the Middle East, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, called ‘Sail Bahrain’ with the aim of, amongst others, nurturing the next generation of local sailing champions and attracting events to the region. Ian Williams will be involved in various activities in Bahrain and ultimately, Pindar aims to host a WMRT event there.[/cleeng_content]