Uncovering the real assets in Sailing Sponsorship
15th July, 2016
With the Clipper Round the World race generating in excess of £4.7m media value per team and the Volvo Ocean Race generating over £45m in media, you can be forgiven for thinking that sponsorship in sailing is just a global billboard on water for luxury brands such as Rolex, Hugo Boss and Prada. However, if you strip back the big numbers, it’s actually a platform that can deliver unrivalled engagement through unique assets that can’t be found in the Formula1 pit lane.
It’s All About Big Data.
Data is changing the world and brands who are heavily developing this area (SAP, Salesforce, IBM) are using it. Often overlooked, the value of data in races such as the Volvo Ocean Race are crucial for delivering a stand at the podium. Being a one-design race means that other than visually, there are no differences in the boats – it’s a level playing field. Consolidating and making use of data gathered in remote areas such as the middle of the ocean truly showcase the capability of data-driven businesses – turning data into insight, and insight into narrative.
Sponsorship of platforms that require a data-led approach are everywhere and most recently at Wimbledon with IBM, a partnership that has been in place for over 25 years. Through this sponsorship, IBM utilises the need for turning thousands of pieces of data, from multiple courts, into insight and narrative immediately. Alongside this they also integrate security products, servers and cognitive capabilities.
Everyone Wants an Experience
Formula 1 provides unrivalled hospitality with Michelin star chefs, the thrill of the pit-lane and the chance to watch races in exotic locations. Sailing also offers this, but due to the nature of the type of competition, there is much greater flexibility providing a unique and often un-experienced opportunity to take part and actually race it against the other boats. This becomes far more accessible to not only key clients but also customers and fans in general.
Perhaps something not solely unique to sailing but none the less extremely attractive is the content that can be produced from the numerous races and competitions. The Americas Cup boats dancing around in the wind with a back drop of Manhattan is an incredible image to support any marketing campaign. Storytelling has become increasingly important, whether it’s a consultancy firm trying to showcase how they influence change in a business or a sports wear brand proving their products are used by the elite athletes. Each market has become increasingly crowded and the differentiator then becomes about engaging native content.
Sailing offers a unique opportunity for brands to align with teams to showcase their own unique offering. These races are regarded as some of the toughest challenges in the world, the sailors cover whole oceans with no rest and little sleep and must do their job perfectly, whilst also working together to win. It is similar to any business, their employees each specialise in their own field, all working together for the good of the company. Sponsors can access the rights free imagery and create unique content to communicate how their company mirrors the sailors, taking individual expertise and working together to achieve their objectives.
Sailing is also a sport with a clean and positive image, powered by natural resources. Teams are looking at new ways to reduce their environmental impact and promote conservation efforts. Sailors also have first-hand experience of the large impact pollution and waste have on the marine environment.
This provides a great opportunity for brands to align with sailing teams who aspire to have their environmental values ingrained within their ethos. Aligning with a sustainable team or race will not only improve public perception, but will also bolster their own sustainability programmes.
Because sailing offers such great media exposure, it’s often too easy to overlook the true assets that brands can capitalise on at a fairly cost-effective price tag. Big or small, involvement in sailing sponsorship should be a consideration for all brands trying to truly engage their customers – even if they aren’t on the ocean.
If you are interested in discussing sailing sponsorship opportunities, please ensure to contact the Slingshot team on 0207 226 5052.