On a Mission to Promote the Sport

Published on October 25th, 2018

The World Sailing Annual Conference, the biggest gathering of the world governing body for the sport of sailing, comes to the USA in 2018 to hold its meetings on October 27 to November 4 in Sarasota, Florida.

In advance of the 2018 meeting, Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck spoke with World Sailing President Kim Andersen on a number of topics to be discussed in Sarasota. Here’s Part 5 of this five part series:

Amid the World Sailing Mission Statement is the promotion of the sport internationally. How is this being done?

There are a lot of parameters you need to fulfill to be an international federation and to be recognized internationally. You have the quality standards of what you’re doing. You have doping, all these things you need to fulfill as part of an Olympic organization, but also to get the core right. And that is where World Sailing can keep the house in order and be able to have a clean base for people to tap into when they want to promote sailing.

World Sailing also identifies areas that need our support, which has led us to spend time in the Middle East and in China. We can accelerate the development in those areas, where we can contribute to organizing a program that is then broadcasted and marketed. We look at all aspects, from the youth up to the Olympics. It is about realizing the complete structure that can then be built on.

On the event structure level, I think some of our biggest competitions create massive interest in the sport. Looking back at the Aarhus 2018 Sailing World Championships, and I may be a bit partial being a Dane, but the attraction of 1,500 sailors and 86 nations can’t be understated. It was a significant event for that community, attracting non-sailors toward the event while investing in the local enthusiasts.

Then there is the media promotion of our sport, which is what we have made a priority with regard to the World Sailing events. We are investing heavily in all forms of media, creating standards how technology can explain our sport so as to attract new audiences. With these tools, I think we are on a totally different level now in what can be achieved by sailing.

There is a growing audience that is tuning into sailing, so it is also our role to help our MNAs (Member National Authorities) understand how to use this commercial impact. I’m seeing how it is possible to use this new media coverage in the promotion of events and create income. So I think we need to see how we can commercialize the use of all these new things.

But, as you know Craig, it’s like the chicken-and-the-egg situation. We need to invest before you can promote something, and this is what we’re doing now. So I think we can, coming back to the mission statement, do a lot and we are doing a lot.

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