Cross marketing the sport
It is one of my contentions that the sport of sailing can gain significant exposure in new markets by taking advantage of celebrity moments. Examples? Invite a prominent city official to participate in your Leukemia Cup Regatta, and you are certain to get the local press to buy in. Or how about Antigua Sailing Week, who have former Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon competing in their event later this month. That kind of story can gain worldwide traction.
The phenomena at the 2008 Olympics, when the press learned how Australian 470 gold medalists Malcolm Page and Nathan Wilmot always named their boats after the star of Nicole Kidman films, and how the actress had called the sailors to wish them luck, swamped the search engines. Even now, seven months later, a search of "’nicole kidman’ + Olympics” produces about 582,000 search results. What if the Aussies had asked Nicole to join them for a photo shoot after the Games? Holy smokes, that would have been in every grocery store tabloid.
Guess what I found on the website of Motorsport.com, which is the home of motorsport content on the web? A story about how Firestone Indy Lights team owner Sam Schmidt, who is paralyzed from the chest down, will race out of St. Petersburg Yacht Club aboard a SKUD-18 sailboat April 2 against Jim Guthrie, co-owner of Guthrie Meyer Racing. These two guys competed against each other in the IndyCar Series in the late 1990s, with Guthrie earning the title of Rookie of the Year in 1997. They are known in their sport, and are now taking their audience toward an event in our sport. These are the opportunities that must be marketed hard… is US SAILING listening?
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