on 12 Jul 2023
SailGP, the high-octane global racing league, has revealed a new regional structure and team for Asia Pacific as it heads into an expanded fourth season.
SailGP says it saw ‘significant growth’ in the Asia Pacific region during its Season 3, including a 110 per cent increase in New Zealand’s dedicated broadcast audience, with a sold-out event in the first ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch.
The new model for APAC — which includes Australia, New Zealand and other Asian markets such as China — is designed to promote growth and commercialisation for SailGP Season 4 and beyond.
The league says Australia saw a 90 per cent increase in its dedicated broadcast audience in Season 3, which included the expansion of its broadcast to secure its first free-to-air broadcast partnership with the Seven Network for the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney.
SailGP is a global championship that features national teams battling in short, intense races at well-known ‘stadium style’ venues across the globe. Sailors race in identical hydrofoiling F50 catamarans, reaching speeds approaching 100 km/h.
Over 22,000 fans turned out to watch the rival national teams compete at the Australia and New Zealand events. Collectively, the events reached 731 million people worldwide, according to the league.
“The Asia Pacific region holds immense promise for SailGP, and establishing a dedicated team and business structure is a testament to our commitment to capitalise on the tremendous growth opportunities in this market,” says Andrew Thompson, SailGP managing director.
The APAC regional team will be organised into three key business pillars, including commercial, events and marketing/communications. These pillars will work in collaboration to develop SailGP brand name throughout APAC.
Karl Budge will take on a wider role as commercial director of Asia Pacific, focusing on the commercialisation of the Australia and New Zealand Teams, in addition to the APAC markets. Until now, Budge has been the New Zealand chief commercial officer and head of event.
Leah Trafford takes the role of regional event director of Asia Pacific, where she will oversee the operational delivery of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix I Auckland, the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney and future Asia Pacific events.
Olivia Hogan will move from her role as Australia’s senior marketing and communications manager to head of marketing and communications for Asia Pacific.
SailGP Season 4 kicked off last month with the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix I Chicago at Navy Pier (16-17 June 2023). The expanded season will comprise of twelve events spanning across four continents over 13 months.
The league will make a record fifth visit to the Sydney Harbour on February 24-25 2024, for the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix. Following that, and after a sold-out New Zealand debut in Christchurch in March 2023, the second iteration of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix will take place in Auckland from 23-24 March 2024.
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