Volvo Ocean Race: Listening to the fans

Published on June 13th, 2018

The quality of racing should matter only to those that compete, and the integrity of competition shall remain consistent with the norms in the sport. Simple enough, but when events like the Volvo Ocean Race rely on sponsor support, there is now a new seat at the table – the fan.

Creating fan interest is a high priority for the Volvo Ocean Race, but what is it that engages the fan? That’s as varied as the fans themselves.

Scuttlebutt is running a poll to gather opinion regarding the 2017-18 edition which we will share with race management. The polling questions deliver a baseline of interest, and for those poll participants that share comments, this feedback drills further into the matter.

Here are some of the comments:
• With the America’s Cup becoming something so strange, even sailors don’t care anymore. The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the top world level races that is always interesting and fun to monitor. Sailing the world is something that moves beyond just getting around your local lake and provides many issues and challenges. It’s also nice to see them sailing in “normal” boats rather than some jacked-up version of a surf board on fins.

• Last two editions have been disappointments. Not enough yachts, not enough personalities (Paul Cayard…where are you?) and too many boats missing too many legs. Very hard to get excited when the home town team crashes, misses a leg (does a horrific job of communicating about it) and then drops their rig when they get back into the race again. Bring on the Vendee!

• My wife and I have been fans for many editions of the race. Besides making it more affordable for the teams, we think the one design concept has made it more interesting with the results more sailor determined than designer/builder determined.

• The Whitbread was an adventure with large fast boat. The sailors were gregarious and you wanted to be out on the water with them reaching through the Southern Ocean. The Volvo is so sanitized and boring. The daily show is a bore. If you watched one daily show, you’ve watched them all.

And our personal favorites:
• The race provides surprises all the time and the commentary and participants talking about their experiences, sources like Scuttlebutt keep us interested.

• Scuttlebutt makes it easier to follow than in the past.

• I look forward to getting the Volvo race news every morning in Scuttlebutt then follow the tracker to see what has taken place since the report in Butt was written.

Have you participated in the poll? If not, please do so… click here.

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