crowded house

It could be a crowded market place in the next couple of years.
With the America’s Cup already announcing the move to a 2 year cycle to ensure continuity, today the Volvo Ocean Race did the same.
I am pretty sure this is not just a case of ‘following suit’ as these sorts of changes don’t happen overnight but interesting to see that the reasons for the change are remarkably similar.
One area where the ‘Volvo’ has a clear lead is the flow of information and the accessibility of the race to the general public which of course helps build its fan base.
A website which had a massive 1.8m hits, oops sorry, that is 1.8Bn hits during the last race, 250,000 players of the Virtual Regatta which was so realistic I ended up on the shoal thankfully only ‘virtually’ 100m from Vestas, a huge attendance at each of the stopovers and sponsors happy with their return on Investment (ROI).
Both events provide a spectacle and window to the world of our sport and together give the uninitiated an idea of how diverse the sport of sailing and that can be no bad thing.
It is too early to speculate the changes this shortened cycle, along with the new faster boats, will bring to the leg lengths, number of legs (and therefore stopovers) and overall length of the race but it clearly – and this is the case with both events – it does potentially shorten the unseen side of any such campaign, that of raising, firstly the interest of potential sponsors and then the actual commitments and funds themselves.
It does appear that Mr Turner is leading Mr Coutts in the viewership and engagement stakes at the moment, particularly with the non-sailing public and whether there is room for two major bi-annual sailing events remains to be seen.
Of course it may all change if Team New Zealand carry off the cup in the next couple of weeks as they are the only team to have not signed up to the “accord”. Who knows then when AC36 will be.
Let’s hope both not only survive the change but prosper because of them along with the other two World Sailing special events, the Extreme Sailing Series & World Match Racing Tour.
– Shanghai Sailor.