SailGP: Bermuda welcomes payday
Published on November 24th, 2020
When the second season of the SailGP global championship gets underway in 2021, the pursuit of the one million dollar prize will begin in Bermuda. While the schedule originally had the high flying F50 catamarans competing in San Francisco, the league’s concern about COVID-19 has shifted the opener to a safer haven.
Bermuda, which hosted the 2017 America’s Cup, estimates up to $8 million could be generated for the economy due to the event on April 24-25. However, the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) sees an even greater payday when a training camp will be held on the island in the run-up to the two-day event.
It was understood that the economic impact could be as much as $23 million if the month-long camp for eight national teams was taken into account.
A BTA spokeswoman said the organization expected a return on investment “in line with other successful tourism events” based on spending from teams, fans and superyacht tourism. But the spokeswoman added, “As is common with major event procurement, details are confidential due to the competitive nature of negotiations.”
The BTA also stated how no additional funding was required and entered this agreement by repurposing existing funds, plus there is no taxpayer guarantee if organizers fall short of raising sponsorship dollars.”
As host partner for the launch of SailGP’s second season, the BTA will be given a “first option” to renew its partnership for return engagements in 2022 and 2023.
David Burt, the Premier of Bermuda and leader of the Progressive Labour Party (PLP), and whose portfolio includes the BTA, said in his reply to the Budget in March 2017 – when he was the PLP Opposition Leader – that the America’s Cup was “a good thing for Bermuda” that would “provide some benefit to the island”.
But he added: “Where we take issue with the event is the One Bermuda Alliance’s consistent refusal to acknowledge the event for what it has been and what it is: an event that appeals to a narrow segment of society.
“The numbers, in terms of both the ratings and the ages of those who follow the sport, demonstrate that this is an event for what was Bermuda, not for what is Bermuda and certainly not for what we hope to become.”
The event is expected to draw members of the superyacht community. Glenn Jones, the BTA interim chief executive officer, said: “We know this group is attracted to events and when they come, they stay for weeks longer – we saw this during the America’s Cup.”
Source: The Royal Gazette
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Billy Besson
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling
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.
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.