As the IMOCA Open 60 fleet finish the Barcelona World Race, attention is being focussed on the next edition of the Vendée Globe. While several British skippers are finding the task of raising sponsorship difficult, French brands are investing in proven stars. The concept of the sailing ‘super-team’ which leverages sponsorship of the sport across multiple events and disciplines, seems to be working well for brands like French bank Banque Populaire.
The company, perhaps best known in recent years for its backing of the record breaking trimaran, has just announced that it will sponsor Armel Le Cléac’h in an IMOCA Open 60 for the next solo, round the world race.
Chantal Petrachi, Head of Communications for Banque Populaire said:
“The Vendée Globe is the only major offshore race that Banque Populaire has not yet taken part in. It was only normal that we attempt this new challenge which bears the very same human values that Banque Populaire has always been attached to: courage, pushing back the limits, the conquering spirit and adventure.For this new project we have chosen Armel Le Cléac’h, whose talent is well known and who has had a lot of experience on this type of boat. Second in the last Vendée Globe and the Route du Rhum, he has had an exemplary career and always shown his determination.”
Armel Le Cléac’h, the skipper of the Banque Populaire VI monohull said:
‘I’m very pleased. It’s a surprise for me to be joining Team Banque Populaire. They are one of the sailing world’s top sponsors. I have just finished with one sponsor who had been with me for five years and I’m proud to have been chosen. With all the skills you find in this team and around this fleet of boats, I believe this is an ideal situation.’
My goals are clear. I will be taking part in a full programme leading up to the ultimate goal of the Vendée Globe 2012-2013. For the 2011 season, I shall be training to begin with from the start of June, before taking part in the Artemis Challenge and the Fastnet in August. In November, I shall be lining up at the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre for which I haven’t yet chosen my co-skipper, even if I do have a good idea.
The long term commitment to the sport of sailing by sponsors such as Banque Populaire, Groupama, Telefonica, Hugo Boss and Fonica shows that there is real ROI from this kind of activity, and it should help others to raise campaign budgets.
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