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world cup wtf?

Organizers of the Delta Lloyd Regatta (DLR) yesterday announced their withdrawal from consideration from the 2013 ISAF World Cup due to ISAF’s requirement that they surrender all commercial rights associated with the highly successful 27-year old event.

As one of the founding members of the ISAF World Cup, DLR organizers, including the Royal Netherlands Yachting Union, had been working hard to turn the World Cup into a truly global series; one that would implement some of the innovations the DLR had brought to its event. “We have worked hard to improve the public face of our World Cup event to improve the spectator-friendliness of the regatta,” a senior member of the organizing team told us today. “We introduced 3D tracking and live video coverage of medal races in combination with other innovations designed to gain more public interest among the public, and we’ve always tried to lead the way in this respect.” The official said their work helped significantly increase the value of the event to sponsors, which allowed the DLR to raise the regatta, and the sport, to higher levels of interest.

No one would have thought that the Delta Lloyd would have problems negotiated an agreement with ISAF to continue their strong partnership for the World Cup, yet when they submitted their bid for the 2013 event and received a mandatory contract to sign, organizers noticed a new provision from the sport’s governing body. “Under the new contract, ISAF wants to add significant costs for the running of the event,” the official said. Amongst other things, the ISAF contract requires host venues to pay for ISAF officials to visit the venue a number of times prior to the event – ostensibly for ‘site evaluation’ – with each of these junkets paid for entirely by regatta organizers.

That ridiculous requirement wasn’t the deal breaker, though. Organizers objected to a far more unconscionable clause that requires the host venue to surrender all commercial rights associated with the event. That means long time sailing supporter Delta Lloyd could no longer be Title Sponsor, and that all sponsors’ positions and level of exposure would be subject entirely to the whims of ISAF – despite the fact that organizers of the regatta not only helped create the World Cup, but that they’ve been running it for some 27 years.

“How could we sign such a contract?,” the organizer asked. “ISAF proposes to significantly increase our costs while taking away our title sponsor,” ostensibly to allow ISAF to procure a single over-arching series Sponsor. Yet even if they can manage to find one, the contract doesn’t propose paying a single Euro to replace the money lost by kicking existing Title Sponsors to the curb.

According to our source, every Dutch stakeholder wants to see the World Cup stay in Medemblik, but after reviewing the contract and learning that ISAF wasn’t willing to negotiate the rights at all, they unanimously agreed to walk away. “Organizers, the Royal Netherlands Yachting Union, Title Sponsor Delta Lloyd, and even the local government all said ‘no way.’” The source said. “We will organize our own event, and being separated from ISAF will allow us to create even more innovation while we remain one of the leading regattas in the world.”

Read the full Delta Lloyd Regatta press release here.