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America's Cup Down Under - Yes, please!

by Jeni Bone on 22 Sep 2013
34th Americas Cup Dock out Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa©
Another day's racing is scheduled for Sunday (US time), day 16, Race 14, and the 34th America's Cup is on the brink of becoming the longest in its history. And before even clutching the Cup, the Kiwis are celebrating.

Emirates Team New Zealand needs one win to capture the America’s Cup, whereas its rival, Oracle Team USA needs six wins to retain the trophy it won in 2010.

Meanwhile, in NZ, win, lose or draw (impossible), the benefits that have been flowing from involvement in the 34th America's Cup will be in the many millions to marine businesses, tourism, and should they snatch the Auld Mug, a massive celebration of sailing in 2016.

Makes you wonder why Australia is so slow off the mark to pitch a challenger in the America's Cup, or nominate Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or the Gold Coast as host cities for stop overs in the legendary, and highly rating Volvo Ocean Race.

While our billionaires toil away at politics, casinos, mining and the Titanic II, far-sighted entrepreneurs are investing (yes, it's a gamble) in propelling their brands and those of other sponsors to the millions upon millions of viewers, visitors, VIPs and spectators who throng to sailing events such as the America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race host venues.

Back in Australia, my home town, the Gold Coast, is still tooling away with the V8s - Holdens and Fords racing around the scenic and bumpy Surfers Paradise track. What a backdrop for sailing, I say!

The Queensland government hands out $6m to support three days of motor racing, positioning the town squarely at the domestic motor racing enthusiast (Bundy bogans, I hear they're called). Who watches it around the world? Who visit the GC to watch the cars and the many boobs flashing off balconies around the track? Some Surfers Paradise traders report that, like Schoolies, their restaurants, river cruises and shops are empty, inconvenienced by chicanes and other barriers, and that unless you're a bottle shop or a 3-star motel, you just close up until the race is done and the city returns to normal. When's that? Three months later at Christmas time?

So, there's every reason for Queensland Tourism, Gold Coast City Council and other administrative bodies to take note of the reports from NZ Marine which put the revenue SO FAR - that's without a win, and before the America's Cup is held in Auckland in 2016 - at more than NZ$350 million dollars injected into their economy.

Peter Busfield, executive director of the NZ Marine Industry Association (NZ Marine), says: 'There is no doubt that the America’s Cup and all that the regatta represents, sporting-wise and commercially, has played a significant role in highlighting and developing New Zealand’s marine sector over the past 25 years.

'In the lead-up to the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco, 44 NZ Marine member companies – plus others outside the marine sector – have contributed hundreds of thousands of man-hours, innovation and design skills, and quality workmanship to one or more of three of the four America’s Cup syndicates which did most or all of their campaign preparation in New Zealand,' said Busfield when speaking at a function for 110 invited guests, media and industry colleagues in San Francisco on Friday 23 August at the Emirates Team New Zealand sailing base.

With every team’s AC45 boat and the AC72s of Emirates Team New Zealand and the major components and fit-out of the AC72s of Luna Rossa Challenge Oracle Team USA built in New Zealand, the physical man hours, supplies and tax generated have clearly generated considerable economic benefits to New Zealand’s marine sector and the country as a whole.

'The New Zealand Government’s investment of $36 million in Emirates Team New Zealand’s campaign has been more than returned in direct tax revenue alone, not to mention the great profiling of New Zealand as a brand associated with world-leading technology,' says Busfield.

'We also recognise the role that the world-class NZ Marine Industry Training Organisation (NZ Marine ITO) has played in helping create a highly-skilled, talented pool of marine industry professionals which in turn drew the America’s Cup teams to manufacture most, if not all, their race boats, supply and support boats and other components in New Zealand.

'The NZ Marine ITO has done and continues to play an important role in ensuring New Zealand has the skilled personnel available to build and refit world-leading superyachts and we’ve witnessed the importance of technology transfer from the America’s Cup and other Grand Prix race programmes to and from the superyacht sector.

'New Zealand can already celebrate the fact our people built the winning Louis Vuitton and 2013 America’s Cup yachts!'

Volvo is said to have spent £30m for a four year deal as naming rights sponsor of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The VOR began life in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race and is renowned as one of the Big Three events in the sport, along with the Olympics and the America’s Cup.

According the post-race report, sponsors earn a 200-300% ROI. The post-race report presents a detailed re view of the global reach and multimedia impact of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 – deemed the most successful edition in the event’s nearly 40-year history.

The study estimates the cumulative TV audience from 8,969 broadcasts as 1.55 billion. The increase in cumulative print readership between 2008-09 and 2011-12 as 41%, and online news articles from 4,240 different online outlets as 58,978.
41.6 million people visited the VOR website and the of?cial YouTube channel attracted eight million viewers. On Facebook there were over 206,000 Fans, and there were 16 million visits to the race tracker, generating 244 million page views.

2.9 million visitors enjoyed the hospitality and celebrations at the Race Villages from Alicante to Galway and there were 2,954 accredited journalists representing 86 different nationalities at the Race Villages and 21,959 corporate guests hosted at the Stopovers.

There is a local precedence: In 2005-06 Melbourne hosted the Volvo Ocean Race and according to Victorian Government reports, it injected $31 million in to the local economy. Not bad for an investment of just $5m - $1m less than the Newman government in Queensland is forking out for the GC 600 in a month's time.

Auckland has committed to hosting stopovers in the 2015 & 2018 Volvo Ocean Race.

The Major Events Development Fund will invest $1.5 million on each of two Volvo Ocean Race Auckland stopovers to be held in 2015 and 2018.

The funding will assist with event delivery and to leverage a broad range of immediate and longer-term benefits from the stop-overs.

'These events provide a platform to leverage benefits for New Zealand, particularly for New Zealand’s marine sector. The marine industry has $1.7 billion in annual turnover, produces $650 million in exports each year and employs 9,000 full time staff. The Volvo Ocean Race stopovers provide a great opportunity to showcase this sector’s expertise internationally,' said Economic Development Minister, Steven Joyce.

'Economic impact figures show that the 2015 and 2018 stopovers will provide a GDP impact to New Zealand of approximately $7.4 million respectively and attract 1,880 international visitors each year.'

The Government invested $1.5 million in the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race Auckland stopover and the new investment will cumulatively build on the benefits generated by the 2012 event.

'The economic impact figures for the 2012 Stopover showed it generated an additional $6.3 million to New Zealand’s GDP and attracted 1,681 international visitors,' Mr Joyce says.

'Around 275,000 spectators visited the race village in 2012. Exhibitors in an associated New Zealand Marine Showcase noted crucial relationships and sales leads were formed with international clients, including race syndicates, during the stopover.'

The Volvo Ocean Race is a round-the-world yacht race held every three years. It spans a nine month period which includes a number of stopovers at international ports to allow for boat maintenance and rest time for the crews.

In 2015, the route will take in 10 cities in 10 countries – Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, Brazil, United States, Portugal, France and Sweden – and will require the teams to cover 39,379 nautical miles – equivalent to 45,317 miles or 72,930 kms.

You can see all the progressive, collaborative and visionary cities participating in the 2015-16 event here:

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