World Match Racing Tour promises brands high returns

Taylor Canfield being interviewed by television crews during qualifying session 2 of the Argo Group Gold Cup 2010 - World Match Racing Tour
World Match Racing Tour - The latest media evaluation report from the 2010 World Match Racing Tour makes for an enticing read for brand managers – the external audit by Repucom using their media evaluation model to determine a media equivalency based on similar advertising or CPT rates applied to the actual viewing audience showed the Tour delivered a media return of USD46m from its global TV, print and digital output last season.

The media brand value is a direct result of a new, innovative 360° media platform implemented last season, befitting a global sailing series sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with ‘special event’ status alongside the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race.

Rights holders like never before are realising the importance of turning their audiences into fans by allowing them to get under the skin of their sport, its stars and their lives. Sailing is one sport in particular that is drawing on the notion of global fans through different media. With the likes of the America’s Cup, Louis Vuitton Trophy, Extreme Sailing Series and the Audi Med Cup, the report by Repucom positions the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) as a profound voice in the realms of broadcasting media.

Commenting on the landscape of sports rights ownership and the investment potential within it, Danny Townsend, President of EMEA & South Asia at Repucom International - a company whose valuation portfolio includes The Ryder Cup, the Rugby Football Union - said, 'After completing an extensive study of the 2010 WMRT season, Repucom has built a significant amount of data to support the expansive media output of the Tour.

'The WMRT has delivered a significant media platform for its commercial stakeholders both from an aggregated media perspective but importantly to a high socio-economic viewership base that supports sailing.

'Sailing delivers a unique proposition which ultimately connects brands with an individual with an attractive demographic profile.'

Whilst known for bringing the action up-close to live spectators with virtual on-the-water stadiums, the WMRT is continually developing its media proposition to capture the hearts and minds of the wider sailing fanbase around the world in both traditional and emerging sailing markets. Live internet broadcast, news packages including daily VNR and vodcasts, a year-round PR campaign covering print, TV and online as well as social media are geared to deliver tangible value to the Tour as well as its current and prospective stakeholders.

The significant rise in the rated media value based on the actual viewing audience is best illustrated by the outlets now routinely covering the Tour’s action. In 2010, live broadcasts were delivered to the likes of CNBC, Sky NZ, Eurosport Asia Pacific, ESPN Star Sports and CNN whilst the same outlets plus many more broadcast highlights from the regattas. Coverage across Al Jazeera Sport, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, Sky Sports News and SNTV give yet more valuable brand exposure. The World Match Racing Tour also uses a Gross Media Valuation (GMV) method for accessing the value of its television footprint.

As a franchise, the Tour works closely with each of its individual event promoters to ensure they are delivering added value to their events and their commercial partners. The potential to pull in vast crowds, attract inward investment and boost tourism by staging a WMRT regatta is an inviting proposition. As a brand, the Portimao Portugal Match Cup last year gained over $2,173,537 in rated media value alone, a figure achieved by working closely with the event’s promoters to ensure the raft of branding benefits delivered by the WMRT on boats, media backdrops and promotional signage is captured across all media outlets.

The Mayor of Portimao, Manuel da Luz, commented: 'We are talking about a well known event in the international sailing competition scene with strong media coverage. As such, Algarve gains importance both as a tourist destination and as such a region with excellent natural conditions with good nautical substructures to host international competitions.

'I hope the impact reaches two levels, namely the projection of Portimao as a chosen destination for some of the most important national and international nautical events and no less important more assets brought to the local economy leading to greater tourist offers and to more tourists coming to Portimao.'

The Tour’s ability to gain significant media coverage for each individual event promoter has resulted in many locations being able to bring onboard big name sponsors for the event. Stena Match Cup Sweden are one such location to see the benefits of being associated with the WMRT having an astounding 55 sponsors including big names like Stena and Audi. In 2010 Stena Match Cup Sweden saw a 200% growth on rated media value from 2009 with an approximate 30 million Euro media value. Of this, 18% was national media value and 82% international.

Stena Match Cup Sweden Event Promoter Martin Sohtell said: 'The growth has essentially been on the international media markets which have already emphasised the opening of the event to international brands. We can see indications that our local entity is receiving more exposure and getting a greater value on the international market. This is off course an exciting development and we welcome more strong international brands to get a piece of the media value of Stena Match Cup Sweden in Marstrand.'

'The event is also creating outstanding value in brand awareness due to it being one of the only sports events that gives the boat sponsor the control of the graphics and branding on the actual tool of the sportsman. The brand awareness figures for one of the ten boat sponsor at Stena Match Cup Sweden lies in the proximity of an events title sponsor at the ATP Tour in tennis or at the European Golf Tour.'

As the Tour continues to grow with a projected calendar of 15 events by 2013, the broadening reach of the series and the value it delivers to sponsors in both tangible and intangible benefits is set to increase yet further.

Jim O’Toole, CEO of the World Match Racing Tour, said, 'Repucom’s globally recognised measurement and evaluation tools have taken the credibility of our sponsor friendly media platform to a new level. A branded presence with WMRT clearly offers an excellent return. We look forward to working with the Repucom team in analysing future results from the WMRT.'

www.wmrt.com