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SailGP: 'Interest in private team ownership has soared' - Russell Coutts

by SailGP/ 6 Sep 18:45 PDT 7 September 2023
The SailGP fleet currently stands at 10 teams - with several ownerships 'in transition' © Ricardo Pinto/SailGP

SailGP boss Russell Coutts says interest in private team ownership has soared and multiple business deals are in progress behind the scenes.

Rumours are swirling around the circuit, now mid-way through its fourth season, of changes and escalation in ownership position with several teams involved in new ownership deals. Those with their antennae up in the sailing media are aware that the situation is more "active" than Coutts has let on. However as Jimmy Spithill (USA) alluded to in a casual conversation with Tom Slingsby (AUS), caught in the latest episode of Racing on the Edge, the deals are taking time to be properly settled.

Coutts added that there had been ‘a lot of movement and interest’ in private team ownership, and referenced the ‘transition of ownership’ of the Canadian team. “We have similar discussions going on in other parts of the world,” he said.

Coutts went on to predict that ‘very soon’ just ‘three teams will still be owned by the league’.

Originally all SailGP teams were financed by software mogul, Larry Ellison to get the circuit rolling, but the objective has always been for that money line to be of limited duration as the teams evolved into a full commercial structure, which could take several forms. In the past the League has jettisoned teams that were unlikely to move to full commercial model - opening the way for new teams with more commercial backing.

Emirates GBR, Switzerland, Germany and Rockwool Denmark are all teams that are, either in part or in full, privately owned, which means that France, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Spain remain under league ownership.

After entering the league under private ownership, Canada’s previous owner stepped away from the team at the end of Season 3. Speaking ahead of the Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix, Robertson said the team had accepted a new ownership bid, but no other updates have been given.

Also speaking on Racing on the Edge, United States driver Jimmy Spithill ‘being profitable’ was the ‘goal for every single team in SailGP’, and predicted that this would ‘probably happen’ to the U.S. team ‘this season’.

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