Despite plenty of valid criticisms, the folks behind the VOR ship have done a phenomenal job this edition of reaching the kind of huge in-person and media audiences they need to to make the race a commercial success. They’ve overcome some serious obstacles by being mostly transparent and supporting the boats, and along with excellent content coming from the boats, they’ve embraced the modern realities of social media in a way no one in sailing yet has, and their fan base continues to grow at a serious clip. They haven’t ignored more traditional media, either – for a great example of some awesome ink from a hugely popular business site, check out this FastBusiness story. They’ve also benefitted from some major luck, resulting in the tightest scoreboard in the modern history of the race – never before have four boats been in position to win the race with just two short legs left to go. And the live racing coverage started off strong and only got better, in marked contrast to the other big dog in live content – the AC – which continues to fade in quality every event.
But most impressive has been their stopover success. Every port seems to exceed expectations, and literally millions of feet have stompled through the VOR villages all over the world. The key to this has been good promotion, the right bells and whistles, and creating a real ‘destination’ for bored holidaygoers and sailing fans to hit. It’s all been good, until now: The Miami stopover is a joke.
Actually, no one has used the word “joke” to me. Team members and VOR insiders have privately used the words “debacle”, “travesty”, and “humiliating” to describe the pathetic turnout on the ground and in the welcoming flotilla, and the impossibility of getting anyone in the conventional national media to even show up; all this despite plenty of good coverage in the local papers, radio traffic, and local TV. We’ll have a detailed analysis of just what went wrong after the weekend, but in the meantime, the VOR is sweetening the deal for anyone that can get to the race village this weekend. That, of course, means free booze! If you want to show the media that at least a few Americans care about this kind of thing, please turn up, either to the race village or out on the water. It’s a hell of a spectacle, and the forecast is looking pretty sweet. Here’s the press release from our gorgeous blonde pal at the Miami PR company trying to jump start the race village:
MIAMI- May 16, 2012- The Downtown Miami Race Village will transform into an unbelievable BEACH PARTY event this weekend- this is not to be missed. The party in Downtown Miami will offer FREE drinks from 5-8pm, FREE admission all day, Beach Volleyball, LIVE Music and fun filled activities for everyone. The Downtown Miami Race Village, host port of Volvo Ocean Race, has created a beach volleyball court and “chill” beach area in the heart of Bicentennial Park providing attendees with an opportunity to win Volvo Ocean Race gear and a TRIP TO LISBON, PORTUGAL. In addition, guests can engage in Standup Paddleboarding, a 3D Cinema, a Volvo Open 70 simulator, children’s games and attractions including air balls, a bounce house, sand pits, a falcon display, grinding competition, and face painting. Music includes LIVE performances at PUMA’s Social Truck by Cris Cab on Friday and Grammy Nominated artist Mr. Pauer on Saturday. Surprise DJ’s to be announced for the weekend BEACH PARTY.
Guests can also witness the Volvo Ocean Race fleet racing LIVE during the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race on our big screen on Saturday and have the opportunity to shake hands with the teams as they make their way through the village.
Celebrity guests participating in this weekend’s events include Gabrielle Union, Adriana de Moura, Cris Cab, Mr. Pauer and more.
Be sure to come down Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 to be a part of the festivities!