It seems that we could dedicate an entire section of this website to the news around hosting yacht racing events and the bidding processes that surround the industry. Whether it be the ISAF Worlds, Volvo Ocean Race stopovers, new venues for the World Match Racing Tour or the mysterious America’s Cup World Series, sailing promoters are being wooed by tourism authorities from around the world to bring their events to town.
The Extreme Sailing Series, which this year steps outside of Europe and becomes a global circuit has announced that it has opened a new host venue process to find cities to stage events from 2012 and beyond. The innovative circuit provides host venues with a proven destination marketing package alongside direct economic benefits.
In 2011, the circuit spans North America, Europe, Arabia and Asia, with nine premium venues hosting 11 competing teams with sailors from 17 nations. New cities for 2011 include of Qingdao (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Boston (USA) and Nice (France).
The Extreme Sailing Series is at the forefront of a revolution in professional sailing to make the sport more about spectators than participants. The goal is to create a sporting event that is a destination based experience – something that people will travel to see. This promise of increased tourism is one of the main reasons that local authorities are eager to attract events to their cities.
Don Luciano Alonso, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Sports for the Andalucia government explains:
“The hotels were 90% full, 75,000 spectators watched the event… The results we have witnessed make it clear that we made the right decision when we bought the Extreme Sailing Series™ for Almeria.”
An independent report commissioned by the region confirmed a 5 times ROI on their financial investment.
Investing in infrastructure required to host an event like the Extreme Sailing Series also gives regional authorities a legacy in terms of marine facilities and the expertise of running major events. When tied to other programmes like education, sailing events can transform communities. Prior to the opening Act at The Wave, Muscat, Oman Sail, CEO, David Graham commented:
“The value of hosting such events is enormous in terms of inspiring even more Omanis to discover sailing and writing the next chapter of Oman’s maritime history. We expect to bring many new visitors to Oman and many others to see the country through the global media coverage the event will generate.”
Just as cities bidding for a Formula 1 grand Prix or the Olympic Games much show that they can deliver a first class event, cities bidding for a slot on the Extreme Sailing Series calendar will have to meet ciriteria like having a suitable venue that can facilitate the ‘stadium’ racing concept. But perhaps more importantly for the sport and the long term success of the event OCThirdpole are looking for strong support from local governments and authorities. The ability to attract tens of thousands of spectators and a solid regional and national marketing and communications plan are also considered to be important.