GB SailGP Team gets stake in franchise
Published on October 6th, 2021
The Great Britain SailGP Team has become the first of the existing eight SailGP teams to evolve to a third party owned franchise with Ben Ainslie, the world’s most successful Olympic sailor and America’s Cup winner, taking majority ownership of the team.
This announcement comes with further news that two additional new third-party owned franchise teams will be joining the league for Season 3, the first of which was announced as a Swiss team on September 6 in Geneva. This follows news earlier in the year of ROCKWOOL becoming a Team Operator of the Danish team.
When Ainslie entered SailGP for Season 2, he secured an option from Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison to take ownership of the team franchise if the team’s running costs and liabilities were covered in full. Through an investment from Chris Bake, this option has been exercised and Ainslie and Bake now take majority ownership of the team. Larry Ellison’s Oracle Racing Inc. retains a minority equity stake in the team.
“With new teams, owners and partners coming into SailGP the league is in a very exciting commercial space right now,” said Ainslie. “SailGP has the commitment from Larry Ellison to take sailing where it has never been before. We look forward to welcoming new like-minded partners to the GB team who share our ethos and our drive to push forward positive change.”
Ainslie, Coutts, and Bake have a trusted relationship, with Bake previously having invested in Ainslie’s 35th America’s Cup campaign and owning an RC44 team, Team Aqua, in a yachting racing class inspired and co-designed by Coutts.
“Ever since I have been involved in sailing it’s been clear to me that the sport needs to commit more to providing pathways, both to grow the sport and to grow diversity and inclusion with the sport,” said Bake. “Over the past couple of years, I have been very impressed and supportive of the work SailGP is doing in this space, particularly through their Gender Equity Initiative. I am delighted to be a part of the League that will inspire future generations to become involved in our sport.”
The Great Britain SailGP Team alongside the British America’s Cup team operates under the ISO20121 standard, an international sustainability standard for events born out of the London 2012 Olympic Games and together with the team’s official Race For the Future Partner, STEM Crew, is seeking to inspire the innovators and problem solvers of the future into STEM careers.
The league is already the first climate positive sports and entertainment property and has ambitious goals to be 100 percent powered by nature, both on and off the water by 2025. One of the first projects Bake will work with SailGP on is biofuel solutions to support the transition for the league and teams’ logistics, operations and broadcast.
“SailGP continues to go from strength to strength and this is another fantastic milestone on our journey to having a fully sustainable and commercially viable league,” said Coutts. “This new financial agreement for the British team – along with the announcement of our ninth team and the completion of a second further franchise transaction for a tenth team for Season 3 – continues to give us confidence that our commercially viable model is rapidly growing and can pave a successful and sustainable, year-round, pathway for our global league.”
SailGP resumes for the final event of the European leg of the season on October 9-10 in Cádiz, Spain.
SailGP Season Championship (after 5 events)
1. Japan, 37 pts
2. United States, 35 pts
3. Australia, 35 pts
4. Great Britain, 34 pts
5. Spain, 31 pts
6. New Zealand, 30 pts
7. Denmark, 28 pts
8. France, 27 pts
Format for SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three races on each day, totaling six races at each event.
• The opening five fleet races involve every team.
• The final match race pits the three highest ranking teams against each other to be crowned event champion.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.
SailGP Season 2 Schedule*
April 24-25, 2021 – Bermuda Grand Prix
June 5-6, 2021 – Italy Grand Prix – Taranto
July 17-18, 2021 – Great Britain Grand Prix – Plymouth
August 20-21, 2021 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Grand Prix – Aarhus
September 11-12, 2021 – France Grand Prix – Saint-Tropez
October 9-10, 2021 – Spain Grand Prix – Andalusia
December 17-18, 2021 – Australia Grand Prix – Sydney
January 29-30, 2022 – New Zealand Grand Prix – Christchurch (CANCELLED)
March 26-27, 2022 – United States Grand Prix – San Francisco (Season 2 Grand Final)
*Subject to change
2021-22 Teams, Helm
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Quentin Delapierre
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie (alternate – Paul Goodison)
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling (alternate – Arnaud Psarofaghis)
Spain, Jordi Xammar (alternate – Phil Robertson)
United States, Jimmy Spithill
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.