BMW ORACLE have finally started to show how they intend to deliver on their promises of making the next America’s Cup a force in commercial world sport. The Defender of the trophy have announced the appointment of Football (soccer) sports business operators – Richard Worth and Craig Thompson.
[cleeng_content id=”809494850″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]Worth will become the Chairman of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) Management Board. He has specific responsibility for the commercial, media and television aspects of the trophy which have been devalued by several years of uncertainty and instability.
Craig Thompson has been appointed CEO of ACEA. He will work closely with Richard to re-position the America’s Cup to attract more fans and commercial interest, while delivering the events in new and exciting formats.
The stated aim of the 34th America’s Cup, to be staged in 2013 is to feature the best sailors in the world on the fastest boats. Amongst their long list of achievements, Worth and Thompson are recognized for their pivotal roles in the phenomenal growth of the UEFA Champions League, one of the most successful properties and most watched competitions in world sport. Each also has worked closely with the governing bodies for the Olympics, soccer and athletics – the IOC, FIFA, UEFA and IAAF plus other leading sports federations and rights holders.
It’s a smart move by the Defender, taking a leaf from the books of the Volvo Ocean Race and World Match Racing Tour, who have recently made appointments from outside of sailing to key marketing positions. It is unknown if the new pair have been responsible for the qualitative research behind the choice of boat or audience segmentation, but the Champions League is perhaps a better model for the America’s Cup than some other sports franchises that have been mentioned to date.
Certainly, the management of a large number of stakeholders is something that the America’s Cup is in desperate need of and commenting on the key appointments Jérôme Valcke, Secretary-General of FIFA, soccer’s world governing authority said:
“Richard brings an intimate understanding of how to balance the conflicting needs of different stakeholders to generate overall growth and success for a major event, from his history in the sports marketing industry at the top level.”
The appointments were made by BMW ORACLE Racing, winners of the 33rd America’s Cup. CEO Russell Coutts explained:
“We studied best practice in the world’s top sporting events. Now we are fortunate to have secured two of the best practitioners.”
A key objective is offering the best-ever fan experience with social media, on-line coverage and broadcast television integrated into innovative and compelling content. Thompson said:
“The America’s Cup has a wonderful past, but it is the potential of its future that is exciting. The unique nature of the America’s Cup has allowed the current holder to take bold but sensitive steps to equip this iconic event for the future and impact all of sailing.”
“The America’s Cup is one of the most recognized events in the world. The challenge is to develop the event to a commensurate level.”
Perhaps it is notable that both Worth (54) and Thompson (61) have worked predominantly in the UK and European sports television and sports markets.
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