The World Match Racing Tour is an effective marketing platform for brands to realise their business goals.
Mirsky Racing Team out on the water in their Sail Racing gear
Good brand building is at the heart of any successful business, particularly those looking to expand into new markets. With sport transcending international boundaries and speaking a universal global language, the world of sports marketing offers an increasingly attractive platform for marketers.
Sailing is perhaps one of the most universally appealing of all sports properties and with the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) – sailing’s premier international series - enjoying a global media footprint and cosmopolitan fanbase it has become a powerful vehicle for brands to achieve their business goals.
One such brand that is reaping the benefits of using the Tour as a marketing platform is Sail Racing, a relative newcomer to the sail and fashion clothing industry. With sailing and fashion apparel already a highly congested market place, Sail Racing has used its partnership with WMRT as a key tool in propelling the brand forward in 2010.
Sail Racing International AB was originally registered as a brand in 1977 and then re-established in 1999 under the brand Sail Racing. Since then, the brand has been widely respected for its creation of new innovative products based on sailors’ experiences and needs.
As an aspiring sailing brand with its roots imbedded in Scandinavia, Sail Racing needs to ensure it breaks out of its traditional markets and captures the eyes of sailing fans the world over if it is to become synonymous with sailing.
With TV coverage alone extending to over 180 countries and a commitment to bring six new events on to the Tour by 2013 WMRT is a perfect partner for the Sail Racing to achieve its ambitions.
Outlining the reason’s why WMRT has been such an effective marketing tool for Sail Racing, Marketing Manager, Lars Bolin, said: 'The WMRT is the only monohull tour anyone is talking about so it was only natural for us to want to be involved with it in some way. The fact the Tour is so international is important to us for our various markets and helps us to appear as an international brand – it’s been hugely beneficial in making us visible, not only via TV, Facebook, Twitter and other websites but also at the Tour sites themselves.'
Sail Racing’s involvement with such a broadly based international Tour not only strengthens their ties in existing markets, but also enables them to create a buzz in markets such as Australia, Korea and Malaysia which they would not have been able to reach simply through their conventional marketing activities.
With expansion at the heart of Sail Racing’s ambitions WMRT allows them to fulfil a key strategic goal, explains Bolin, 'Our key markets are currently the Scandinavian countries where we have the biggest turnover, especially Sweden. We also have good markets in Norway and are entering Denmark soon. We also have distribution in Holland, Australia and Japan.
'We are hoping to expand further into the Asian market over the next few years with the help of the Tour but we plan on taking our time and making sure we do it right. The same applies with US and Canada; we believe there is a place for us in the market there.'
WMRT Sail Racing Merchandise on sale at the Monsoon Cup
Sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with ‘special event status’, the WMRT sits at the pinnacle of match racing and attracts the world’s best sailors. The one-on-one, close to shore and highly technical nature of match racing allows spectators to watch the often heated action at close range – a factor that makes the WMRT unique to other sailing events. This style of competition also means the attributes of both the WMRT and Sail Racing complement one another.
'For us it’s important to show our brand in the correct environment. Ours is hi-tech and innovative, so we need to show our products used in action against the elements so the best way to do that is on a world-class tour with the top sailors in action.'
When referring to ‘top sailors’, Bolin is referring to Torvar Mirsky and his Mirsky Racing Team from Australia. Sail Racing has partnered with Mirsky since 2010 with the aim of using Mirsky’s international schedule to showcase their clothing first-hand around the world. With the skippers gaining a huge amount of coverage from TV to print media, it’s a chance for the brand to be seen by people worldwide. In their first season with Mirsky Racing Team alone, the brand generated a media value of US$310,962 via the Tour.
'Through the Tour we have better contact with each sailor which is crucial to us as a brand. We’ve actually been in discussion with several more teams who are keen to sail in our gear which is very exciting for us.'
Working closely with sailors is important to Sail Racing and the nature of the WMRT makes this possible. This is why Sail Racing have recently taken WMRT veteran Magnus Holmberg onboard as Team Sponsor Manager. Holmberg’s experiences on the Tour will help the brand in moving forward.
The popularity of the Tour’s events and their teams are hugely appealing for sponsors along with the fact sailing as a sport is considered clean and ethical and has many values associated with successful business practice. This combined with WMRT’s ambitious and committed expansion plans makes the Tour and Sail Racing natural partners.
'The Tour is aiming high and has goals to continue to expand and to be innovative. They are constantly looking to the future and that’s something we as a brand are also doing, continually looking forward and focussing on being the most innovative with our sail clothing. We believe it is the perfect match between the Tour and our brand,' added Bolin.
The benefits do not end there. To celebrate the partnership with WMRT, Sail Racing recently created a special limited edition run of 200 White Orca Jackets. This year the Tour will work alongside Sail Racing by having a moveable retail outlet for sailing fans. This will complement their stable of concept stores, online retail merchandise and marketing campaigns.
While Sail Racing is primarily a specialist sailing brand if it is to realise its bigger ambition of breaking into the fashion market, the increased retail footprint will be key offered by the Tour will be vital to its development.
Sail Racing is a company with grand ambitions and knows it needs to be partnered with the best if it is going to achieve those goals. In the WMRT they have identified what they feel to be the best and are already reaping the benefits.
World Match Racing Tour website