America’s Cup: Brits get rebranded (again)
Published on May 9th, 2018
(May 9, 2018) – Sir Ben Ainslie has had to rename his America’s Cup syndicate for the second time in a fortnight after a branding row with the British Olympic Association.
Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team were changed to Ineos Team GB when British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe took over sole sponsorship in a £110m deal backed by his huge petrochemical business Ineos.
But that was blocked by the British Olympic Association which has stood firm over its trademarked “Team GB” name it uses for its athletes.
It’s an embarrassment for Ainslie who was the first Olympian to win medals in five different Olympic Games in sailing, with his haul including four golds.
The latest development comes after some criticism for switching his sponsorship to Ratcliffe, a pro-Brexit businessman whose company is one of the main fracking firms in the UK.
The Telegraph reported today that Olympic bosses told the billionaire they would never give up the trademark for free, with money gained from it used to back Britain’s Olympic campaigns.
The respected newspaper said “the row escalated with Mr Ratcliffe writing to the BOA, saying he ‘naively’ thought use of Team GB would be seen in a ‘patriotic light’, and claiming he was told he faced a multi-million bill to use the trademark.
“As a result, the businessman invited BOA to ‘take a long walk off a short plank’ in the letter, saying he would rename the yachting campaign to ‘Team UK, which I much prefer’.”
The BOA told The Telegraph is was a self-funded organisation and “must protect the Team GB trademark”, adding it “encouraged partnership discussions, which were rejected. At no stage were there any demands for specific financial figures”.
The next America’s Cup will be held in Auckland in 2021.
Ainslie won the Auld Mug with Oracle Team USA in 2013, helping the Americans beat Emirates Team New Zealand in the final.
Ainslie mounted a British challenge for the last Cup in Bermuda but lost to the Kiwis in the challenger semifinals. Team New Zealand went on to beat Oracle Team USA in the Cup match.
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
December 31, 2018: Late entries deadline
March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched
2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
December 10-20, 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race
January and February 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021: The America’s Cup Match