Sailing it seems is still high on the list of desirable events to host as part of a tourism plan or destination marketing campaign. 60 cities from 27 countries have put their hands up to compete for the right to host a stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race next time around.
The numbers are interesting because they show that there is competition between countries but also between cities within countries to showcase their marine infrastructure and leverage the media footprint of the race.
Alicante has a deal to host the start of the race for the next two editions. There are only a limited number of times that the race can stop for budgetry reasons and there are other considerations. Capetown is in a geographically advantageous position for a round the world stopping race and given the importance of China to Volvo and other sponsors, it is likely that the race will return to Sanya, Qingdao or some other Chinese port.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad has said that the future is in markets which are growing, however the route has big implications for budgets, sponsorship activation and the positioning of the race as an extreme, offshore event.
Frostad is obviously pleased with the demand shown by the process:
“It is hugely satisfying to see the strong global appeal the current edition of the race is generating and that is reflected in the number of cities around the world interested in hosting a Stopover event in future editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.”
Angus Buchanan, Director of The Sports Consultancy, added:
“The competition to host a Volvo Ocean Race stopover is a real endorsement to the continuing improvements being made to the Volvo Ocean Race and the ever increasing returns to its host city partners in terms of global media exposure and direct economic benefits. When planning the new route it is essential that we balance the heritage of ocean racing and this great event whilst ensuring we visit new territories in order to bring sailing to a new audience.”
If only the countries competing for a slot would all support a team, then the race would be in very good shape indeed.