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Russell Coutts: SailGP 2020 sound bites

Published on February 26th, 2020

Russell Coutts, CEO of SailGP and four times winner of the America’s Cup, was interviewed by Tip & Shaft, a French sailing newsletter. With private funding for the league and six teams in 2019, Coutts shares some insight into the plan for the 2020 season in these excerpts:

Regarding self-funded teams.
There are two teams from the seven (Brits and Danes) which are now self-funded which is a good step forwards.

Whether all teams need to be self-funded within five years.
There is an expectation and desire that there is progress made commercially and so we review this position yearly. And if enough progress has not been made then there are other teams that want to come on. We are likely to have announcements on that in the near future. An option is to continue or to replace one of the exiting teams with a new team. The teams have to be commercially sustainable.

The season cost for a team.
$7m a year and that includes the contribution to the shared services, the leasing of the boat, any upgrades, maintenance. So we pool all of the resources so they don’t each have to carry spare parts and so on, so we remove that cost implication. We have to create cost efficiencies and create revenues. They have to be profitable and that is the only way this will be sustainable in the long term.

Box office sailing stars or up and comers?
I was looking at the medal charts of Olympic sailing the other day and we have six of the top seven Olympic nations now represented in SailGP. We want to add competitive teams. We are going to look at solutions to get some of the top female sailors in the world. We are going to make an announcement on that soon.

SailGP detailsTeam rostersResultsHow to watchFacebook

2020 Teams
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Billy Besson
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
Spain, Jordi Xammar/ Phil Robertson*
United States, Rome Kirby
* Xammar will helm with Season 1 skipper Phil Robertson (NZL) serving in an interim capacity. Details.

2020 Schedule**
Sydney, AUS (February 28-29)
San Francisco, USA (May 2-3)
New York, USA (June 12-13)
Cowes, GBR (August 14-15)
Copenhagen, DEN (September 11-12)
** A sixth event may be added to the calendar at a later date.

Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans with the season culminating with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.

Season 1 – 2019 Schedule
Sydney, Australia (February 15-16)
San Francisco, USA (May 4-5)
New York, USA (June 21-22)
Cowes, UK (August 10-11)
Marseille, France (September 20-22)

SailGP Season 1 Overall Leaderboard
1. Australia, Tom Slingsby, 229
2. Japan, Nathan Outteridge, 223
3. China, Phil Robertson, 171
4. Great Britain, Dylan Fletcher, 169
5. France, Billy Besson, 164
6. United States, Rome Kirby, 163

Note: Total points based on SailGP scoring.

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