This week, the Volvo Ocean Race announced that the format of the race would change from a ‘Box-Rule’ to a one-design. This means that every boat in the next two races will be ‘exactly’ the same.
The decision has some big implications for brands who are interested in sponsoring this kind of sailing, taking away one of the things that differentiated the Volvo Ocean Race from events like the Clipper Race. In fact one prominent designer has already dubbed the next two versions of the race “Clipper Plus”.
The aim of Volvo Ocean Race organisers is to reduce the cost of a campaign and give all teams the same tools to win the race. This should put more of a focus on the sailors ability and open up the potential for more female teams or new sponsors to participate with reduced risk.
Positives For Volvo Ocean Race Sponsors.
and potential sponsors…
- Re-iteration of long term commitment from title sponsors Volvo Group and Volvo Cars – the new format allows the title sponsor to almost ‘guarantee’ at least eight boats in the race.
- Off-the-Shelf boat package from well known designer (Farr Yacht Design) and high quality boat manufacture from world class builders including Multiplast, Decision SA and Green Marine.
- Access to the same platform as the best funded teams – more level playing field gives the opportunity for new teams be competitive and lower risk of being ‘outspent’.
- Higher focus on sailors personalities and sailing ability, but also the ability to win the marketing race without winning the race.
- Potential to field a team with point of difference e.g. Womens team or Youth team.
Negatives for Volvo Ocean Race Sponsors.
and potential sponsors…
- Lack of differentiation of boat design – all the boats will look the same except for their livery. Sponsors will not be able to associate themselves with “the winning design” or the “best technology”.
- Good sailors will become more expensive and best sailors may not be available for your campaign.
- Volvo Ocean Race less differentiated from other sailing races – loses ‘Grand Prix’ status.
Sailing Sponsorship Alternatives to the Volvo Ocean Race
Brands looking to sponsor sailing have a wide variety of choices. In the offshore arena, there are choices to be made in terms of crewed versus solo, open versus one-design, stopping or not stopping, professional or pro-am.
At the Open end of the spectrum there is still the IMOCA 60 class or races which allow one-off maxi yachts. At the one-design end of the range there is the Multi-One-Design, Clipper Race and now the Volvo Ocean Race.
If you want to know more about the offshore sailing sponsorship market, or other sailing sponsorship advice, contact us.