We’re very uncool at yachtsponsorship.com. We love old fashioned match racing. Part of that appreciation was built through attending Match Cup Sweden in Marstrand, an event which is far from being old-fashioned. Despite being run in the same place in the same calendar slot for the last 17 years, the event continues to be one of the most innovative sailing events anywhere.
While the America’s Cup has taken some time to climb aboard the ‘stadium sailing’ bandwagon, Match Cup Sweden could rightfully claim to be one of the first events to provide spectators with a vantage point that is close enough to touch the boats sailed by some of the best sailors in the world. The term ‘natural amplitheatre’ has become almost a cliche since ORACLE racing announced their decision to host the America’s Cup in San Francisco, but even San Francisco Bay doesn’t compare to the Marstrand racetrack. In NASCAR terms, if San Francisco is Daytona, then Marstrand is Bristol.
With regret, we couldn’t attend this year’s event in Sweden, however – by all accounts, the event continues to impress with it’s professional management and delivers for fans as well as business stakeholders.
Here’s what first time visitor Markus Pettersson thought of the event
As a first time visitor, it was interesting to visit the machine that Match Cup Sweden has become over the past years. Having worked in league sports like basketball and football for a large part of my career, it was fascinating to see the other side of the coin from within: a one time event in nature’s own arena, with equipment worth millions of dollars and an upper class crowd. I must say that it was a very impressive show. Sailing in itself was much more exciting live than I would ever have thought, and I left Marstrand feeling that this is a sport and industry I really want to get to know better. Sailing has sure had it’s 15 minutes in Swedish mainstream media 10-20 years ago, but have lost ground to the all-eating football monster since then. There’s no doubt however that the potential is there to become a major player again, especially if more cities around the country can bring sailing to arenas that are easily accessible like in Marstrand.
The greatest commercial impression I walked away with was how well several sponsorships had been activated, with the Stena group topping the chart. They owned the entire village of Marstrand, and could be seen anywhere and everywhere, no matter if you were there as a corporate visitor or a kid with your parents. There were giveaways for the kids, sailing for sponsors, cheap travel deals, a recycling crew constantly keeping the arena and surroundings fresh and clean, and what not – and more or less everybody visiting or working at the event sported attire branded by Stena. Honorable mentions also goes out to Good Year and Pelle P clothing for their activation.
Personally, I was there to work for newspaper Göteborgs-Posten with our sponsorship of the Junior Arena together with the GKSS sailing club and Passalen. Our primary task was to help young people with and without disabilities to try sailing, and we had a blast doing it. Seeing the happy faces of all those kids was surely rewarding, and we hope to develop it even more for next year’s Match Cup. Junior Arenas at events like these are maybe what it would take for sailing to get back to where in belongs – at the top of Evereyday Joe’s mind!
The World Match Racing Tour has partnered with Swedish digital communications experts Sigma, who have used Match Cup Sweden as a platform to promote to a wide audience.
Sigma CEO Hakan Karlsson is convinced of the benefits of being involved in the event. Commenting on the World Match Racing Tour website he said:
It’s all about branding for Sigma. In the Swedish IT industry we are very bad at actually marketing ourselves, we just work, work, work, and we don’t tell the customer how good we are. To be able to bring our clients to such a stunning location and show them great brand presence, hospitality, and racing was an opportunity not to be missed.
Sailing is quite a niche market but here on the west coast of Sweden it is huge. If you look at a sport like football it is just one match but for Stena Match Cup Sweden there is a whole week of racing which brings in a huge amount of media attention. Last year we had Sigma branding on the front page of Gothenburg’s biggest newspaper three days in a row thanks to Stena Match Cup Sweden which is much more visibility than you would get from sponsoring other sports.
And while Match Cup Sweden gets Sigma national exposure, the partnership with the World Match Racing Tour helps to build awareness of Sigma around the world. Karlsson continues:
Marstrand is the biggest sailing event in Sweden and it’s vital for us because most of our clients are from Sweden. However, the World Match Racing Tour is obviously a well-known global sailing brand and it is something we at Sigma want to be associated with. Our partnership with the World Match Racing Tour is a natural progression in our global business model. We currently work in nine countries around the world and we want to expand that.