While the Volvo Ocean Race has done a good job attracting consumer brands like Camper and Puma to the event, much of the value of the race is delivered through B2B partnerships. As well as Inmarsat and Volvo Group itself, companies like Ericsson also use the race to provide a showcase for their technology and infrastructure.
In the last edition of the race, Ericsson was out on the water with a boat of their own. This time around, the company is a race sponsor, providing IP Networks that help fans consumer HD-quality video on big screens at the event’s race villages.
“Tens of thousands of visitors” in Alicante, Cape Town and Abu Dhabi have been able to get closer to the action via the screens and high-speed mobile internet.
Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, said:
“Our strategy is to get our content closer to our broadening fan base and this wonderful Ericsson technology helps us do just that. During the last race, we and Ericsson started geo-tagging multimedia content long before anyone else did that. These days others have followed our example and it has become standard. Now it’s about what you can do in a race village and we and Ericsson are leading the way again.
“We are working with Ericsson to make sure the network in village is fast and efficient so we can spread information from race to shore, to big screens, to mobile handsets, and to online for those who are not in the race village. During our first three stopovers fans have told us how much they love the video on the screens.”
Ericsson will also sponsor a new prize . The Ericsson Trophy for the best yacht design, which will be awarded to the design team at the finish in Galway in July.
Helena Norrman, Head of Communications for Ericsson, said:
“Volvo Ocean Race is a world class sporting event that engages the most skilled and innovative designers, builders, engineers, and sailors. Though we are no longer a contestant in the race, our company aims to be at the forefront of innovation across the globe every day so it makes sense to recognize innovation in a challenge that takes people literally around the world in vessels which are at the cutting edge of sailing design and technology.”
Partnerships like this are often used by companies to de-risk their sponsorship investment. The company gets all the benefits of being involved with the race without the ‘complications’ of running a racing team.