The America’s Cup is known throughout the world as the sport of billionaires and captains of industry. For 150 years, the people who have contested the cup have been those with enough disposable income to pursue the trophy as a hobby rather than a commercial enterprise. The goal for the future of the America’s Cup is to try and build teams that are sporting franchises, but that’s won’t happen overnight and it won’t happen while fundamental pieces of the commercial puzzle – like television deals – are not in place.
In the meantime, it’s business as usual for the America’s Cup. Despite a half-hearted attempt to woo a new audience through things like social media, the bread-and-butter of the event for the foreseeable future, will be the ‘superyacht-set’.
The clash between the stated aims and brand positioning of the new America’s Cup and the reality has been strengthened by a deal between the organisers and Fraser Yachts. Members of the Facebook generation with the cash to charter a superyacht to watch the action will benefit from the partnership.
Officially, Fraser Yachts, which is part of the Azimut Benetti Group, will be one of the operational partners for the 34th America’s Cup superyacht program. Patrick Coote, Marketing Director of Fraser Yachts, got on the right page of the PR script and made sure the obligatory reference was made to F1 when he said:
“We are really excited about our partnership with the America’s Cup and the opportunity for the superyacht community to truly engage in this world-renowned sporting event. The new course format is completely different to any previous America’s Cup, allowing superyachts to be a part of the racing action. This is America’s Cup meets Formula 1.”
Niccolò Porzio di Camporotondo, the America’s Cup Event Authority Superyacht Director, might be one of the only people on the ACEA team who actually understands the real audience of the America’s Cup. Rather than present the event as a new, mass-market, extreme sport, he is happy with the long term relationship between the luxury end of town and the event. He said:
“The 34th America’s Cup offers boat owners and charterers unprecedented on-and-off the water access to the America’s Cup. We are honoring the historical ties between the America’s Cup and luxury yachting, while providing the greatest access to the racing action that the Cup has ever seen. We have partnered with Fraser Yachts because they have experience and expertise necessary to deliver a truly amazing experience for superyacht owners, charterers, captains and crew with the 34th America’s Cup.”
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