For the sport of sailing to grow, it has to become relevant in new markets. Luckily, at the commerical end of the sport, promoters have woken up to the opportunities to the east of the traditional markets of Europe and are testing the waters of Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Korea.
Of course this model only works if all the pieces are in place. Local competitors for fan interest and local sponsors who can leverage their marketing spend in the local market.
Alongside the World Match Racing Tour, Extreme Asia Series and Louis Vuitton Trophy, local events should also benefit from increased awareness of sailing as a promotioinal event. Mr Liu Rui-Jin, Chairman of ZhouKe (Hong Kong) International Holdings Ltd., and Mr Ray Parry, General Manager of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC), signed a three year agreement which will see the Chinese swimwear and leisurewear retailer give their name to one of RHKYC’s most historic inshore races, the annual Around The Island Race.
To be held in November 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Zoke Around The Island Race will feature a 26nm circumnavigation of Hong Kong Island, starting and finishing in front of RHKYC’s Kellett Island Clubhouse on the shores of Victoria Harbour.
The Race is truly a Hong Kong spectacle, with over 200 boats, outrigger canoes and coastal rowing boats lining up on the start line, with Hong Kong’s famous skyline in the background. Around 1400 sailors and paddlers take part on everything from one-person dinghies to 70 foot yachts and Victoria Harbour teems with sail.
RHKYC Commodore Mr Warwick Downes commented
‘The Club is delighted to welcome a new sponsor to one of our biggest events. Zoke is the Club’s first mainland Chinese sponsor and we look forward to working with them to broaden the appeal of both our event and their products.”
In response, Zoke’s Chairman, Mr Liu added;
“I am delighted at the opportunity of coming to Hong Kong and supporting the Around The Island Race — a major event in one of the great cities of our region. We at Zoke look forward to working closely with the RHKYC over the next three years in promoting this great race.”
Zoke’s Executive Director, Mr Jarl Borthwick commented;
“This is a fabulous opportunity for Zoke to become involved in a sport that represents many of the values that Zoke stands for — including the pursuit of a healthy, active and sustainable lifestyle. To partner with the RHKYC to put on this great event represents a wonderful opportunity for Zoke to support an activity that truly reflects our core company beliefs.”