If you are going to have an event featuring big cats, you might as well get your sponsors’ iconography to match. The America’s Cup have announced that PUMA will be the Official Sportswear Partner for the next edition which includes the America’s Cup World Series.
It’s a good choice for the Cup, which is trying to reinvent itself to a new audience. PUMA showed during the last Volvo Ocean Race that they can teach the sailing world a lot about sports marketing and activation. If the America’s Cup really wants to appeal to a new demographic, then it is easier to see them walking in and buying a hoodie with the PUMA brand on it over a more technically based sailing clothing brand.
The deal with PUMA gives fans one reason to turn up the early America’s Cup World Series events rather than streaming it. PUMA will bring their expertise in merchandising to the events and operate the e-commerce element as well as ‘pop-up’ fan shops where merchandise will be available to fans exclusively in Cascais. (This is a positive spin on saying, the deal was done so late, we haven’t had time to build the online shop yet)
While PUMA will be kitting out the officials of the America’s Cup, the real stars – the athletes will be wearing other brands. It’s a typical kind of deal, and there will be some who will want to buy non-team related items, but it seems a little strange to want to wear the sailing clothing worn by the guys who do the marketing rather than the guys competing. Neverthless, as the official sportswear partner, PUMA will serve as the exclusive licensee of event-related sportswear for the America’s Cup Event Authority and America’s Cup Race Management teams, including their sailing performance gear.
It’s hard to think of another brand in the sailing clothing space that has the marketing muscle to help the America’s Cup achieve their vision. PUMA has wide appeal, not just in sport, but as a lifestyle brand. Moreover, they understand their consumers, which is something that the America’s Cup has not really demonstrated yet.
One of the guys who will be kitted out in PUMA is Craig Thompson – CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority. He said:
“The new America’s Cup represents a radical shift in the way people will connect with the sport of sailing. We’ve looked at every component of the event from the viewer’s eye so we can create customized experiences for audiences around the globe. We’re committed to providing the ultimate in performance sportswear for our fans, and in PUMA, we’ve found a partner who can deliver on that promise.”
Just as PUMA provided a wake up call to other brands when they took part in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, PUMA has more imagination and willingness to take risks than most other sailing apparel brands. Antonio Bertone, Chief Marketing Officer for PUMA said:
“PUMA’s approach to sailing has always been a little bit different. We’re the mavericks in the industry, intent on shaking up the sport with campaigns, products and partnerships that reach new audiences, dial up the ‘fun’ and push the boundaries of performance technology. America’s Cup embraces a similar philosophy and re-emerged as the hottest thing to happen to professional sailing in decades. We’re excited to come aboard as the official sportswear partner for the Cup.”
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