Multihulls are great for the America’s Cup. We get it. Sport changes and sports where technology is a driver become almost unrecognisable from one era to another. The new America’s Cup has the potential to be exciting, and spectators will come to see a new kind of sailing, however it is sad to see the ambassadors of the sport, denegrate the tradition that made the America’s Cup what it is.
It’s great to see Jimmy Spithill on ‘everyman’ sports shows like Chronicle Live, but the current PR spin that everything that has come before was “boring” is a little insulting to those who have built the brand that now allows sailors like Spithill and Coutts the opportunities they currently have.
Rather than denigrating past Cups, like the event which took place in Fremantle, which until the most recent re-invention of history was considered one of the most successful ever – ambassadors like Spithill should recognise that though different, the America’s Cup events that came before were fantastic, athletic, technology led competitions. Otherwise, the new America’s Cup has no soul.
If the new format for the 34th America’s Cup has a solid foundation in marketing fundamentals, then it should appeal to the markets that allow Oracle Racing and the America’s Cup Event Authority need to sell sponsorship and television rights against. It’s different and perhaps its better, but trash talking every America’s Cup event that has come before is not good for the America’s Cup brand and is not good for sailing.
Without the ‘boring’ America’s Cup events of the past, where the skill level was so low and the action so tedious that sailors ‘could read a book while competing’, leaders of the sport like Jimmy Spithill would not get invitations to live sports shows.
So let’s think a little more long term shall we. Let’s try to bring a few more people along for the ride and stop sticking two fingers up at the past. The new deal America’s Cup promises to make the sport of sailing a little more accessible to a wider audience. Catamarans with wing-sails will promote speed and technology over match-racing tactical skill, but let’s make the 34th America’s Cup part of the long tradition rather than a new event that just happens to have the same name.
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