Cowes Week Announces Title Sponsorship Deal
After 3 years searching, Cowes week has finally found a replacement title sponsor. The news that Aberdeen Asset Management PLC has signed a three year deal with the Isle of Wight festival of sailing sends many positive messages.
For a long time, much of UK sailing has rested on the laurels of the World’s oldest sailing regatta. There has been a sense that Cowes Week has always been there and always will be. The loss of Skandia’s investment and marketing savvy has impacted the event, with organisers managing a holding pattern strategy while new commercial backers were found.
Had Cowes Week not found a sponsor for 2011, then the event may not have been able to continue to call itself the UK’s top sailing event. The annual Round the Island Race, with secure funding from another Asset Management company, J. P. Morgan has become an annual ‘must-do’ event for many of Cowes Week’s customers.
Now, with a new title sponsorship deal in place, Cowes Week can start to embark on a new growth period.
Cowes is an interesting event. Unlike other dates in the UK summer ‘season’, like Henley or the Polo, the yachting regatta is not primarily for spectators, but for participants. As a result, the biggest impact of sponsorship will be the reduction of entry fees for sailors wishing to sail in the 8 days of racing.
Naturally, the statements issued were the usual “we are very pleased,” kind of messages that have to be said on such occasions. John Grandy, Chairman of CWL, said:
“We are delighted to have formed this new relationship with Aberdeen Asset Management and are looking forward to working together to develop Cowes Week further, for the benefit of everyone involved in this great regatta.”
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management added:
“We are very proud to be supporting one of the world’s premier sailing regattas. Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week looks set to be a tremendous success and we are very much looking forward to enhancing the experience of both the crews and spectators who will descend upon the Isle of Wight later this year.”
Apart from the reduction in entry fees, that have seen sailors subsidise ancillary spectator activity for the benefit of the Isle of Wight residents over the last few years, there will be obvious visual differences with the increased presence of branding throughout Cowes. Future activity (medium-term objectives) are to:
“Develop the ‘online spectator experience for the millions of fans throughout the world that follow the event. Technology will play an increasing role in the development of Cowes Week and there are some exciting times ahead.”
For sure there are hundreds of thousands of reasons to sponsor Cowes Week – but to imagine that there are millions of fans of the event worldwide is pure fantasy. For Aberdeen Asset Management, one of the major reasons to sponsor the event was to appeal to an ‘international audience’, which is to say that people internationally, specifically in markets where Aberdeen have a presence, have heard of Cowes Week.
It is great to see a large financial services brand return to sailing after a few years of belt-tightening. Aberdeen are not new to the sport – they backed Sam Davies in her first ever single-handed transatlantic race, the 2001 Mini Transat between La Rochelle and Brazil, and they have had an affiliation with the Dragon class since 2006.
With a bit of luck, Aberdeen and their sponsorship team at WSM will bring some of the experience they have with events like the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race and golf to the quaint British regatta on the Isle of Wight.
The event will benefit in 2011 from the growing interest in the Extreme Sailing Series, which will run alongside the diverse classes starting off the squadron line.
- 6 to 13 August 2011
- 11 to 18 August 2012
- 3 to 10 August 2013
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