Will the America’s Cup‘s return to American soil create a sustainable professional sport of sailing in the USA? Probably not – at least in the short term. Could a national circuit of for pros be established along the lines of the US PGA or NASCAR? Absolutely… but there are some cultural hurdles to overcome before that, not the least of which is a determined effort to cling to a ‘corinthian’ ideal.
Nevertheless, sponsorship of sailing in the USA is playing an increasingly larger role in funding sailing events and is key to the ‘business model.’
This week, Key West Race Week announced that Quantum Sail Design Group would become the title sponsor of the event and allow professional race organisers Premier Racing to deliver a quality regatta. The sponsorship is also key to the ‘long term viability’ of the event.
Ed Reynolds, President of Quantum said:
“We recognize that Key West Race Week is the flagship regatta in this country and has been for well over two decades. This has been reinforced by many people we’ve spoken with both here and abroad. Even with the smaller fleet sizes of recent years, this midwinter, big-boat regatta is very important to North American and international sailboat racing. We would like to see it continue and are committed to supporting the regatta during this transition period.”
Quantum have delivered some great marketing and promotions through their Audi Med Cup team in recent years. The brand was one of the first sailing companies to really get social media and use the internet to communicate with fans and partners through video. Many other brands in the space a playing catch-up.
Premier Racing’s Peter Craig said:
“We are very thankful to Quantum for stepping up to fill the important role of title sponsor. It’s gratifying to know its fundamental reason for doing so is the continuation of Key West Race Week. As we work to develop a sustainable business model for the event, Quantum has solved a critical short-term need by serving as a bridge to the future.”
Other sponsors and partners of the event include Lewmar/Navtec, Mount Gay Rum and B&G and the regatta also features am Industry Partner Program, with over 30 companies participating. Marine Industry companies are encouraged to lend their support to contribute to the viability of the regatta.
As those cities bidding to host major sailing events like the Extreme Sailing Series or World Match Racing Tour know, support from government, councils, local business and tourism authorities is important to deliver a great experience for competitors and participants.
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