At the World Yacht Racing Forum in Portugal last year, Mark Turner from OC Thirdpole said that there were about 100 cities around the world that were actively trying to win the right to host sailing events. Earlier this week, ISAF announced that Santander in Spain would play host to the 2014 Sailing worlds, but perhaps more interesting were the other places mentioned who had bid.
If done right, sailing events can bring new people into regions, increase tourism revenues and showcase marine infrastructure and industry. If not done right, then sailing events fall into the stereotype of a couple of rich blokes getting wet for an afternoon.
At the professional end of the sport, promoters are starting to think more about the relationship between the sailors and spectators. More venues mean more markets for sponsors and partners to activate in as well as providing more opportunities to ‘sweat’ the assets.
The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) has an ambition to grow to 15 events by 2013. This week, the Tour release a statement saying it had been overwhelmed by the level of interest from potential new host regions and is now in extended talks with 10 venues who are all eager to embrace the benefits of hosting a stage of WMRT.
While the number of aplications was not 100, it was a substantial 77 locations who submitted initial expressions of interest. Terry Newby of Regatta International was appointed back in October 2010 to oversee the process. He said this week:
“The benefits of hosting a stage of the World Match Racing Tour has clearly had a huge influence on why people wanted to enter applications. What has been clear from the process is how aware countries are of the positive impact hosting an event of this magnitude would have on their region. What has been most surprising about this process is that we haven’t had to up-sell the Tour, they know the value of being associated with it and want to be a part of it.”
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