Boon for Brunel, a future for Volvo Ocean Race
AMSTERDAM _ The return of Brunel International NV, which is active in project management, staff placement and consultancy, to the Volvo Ocean Race signals a desire to benefit from a global marketing bonanza as well as a vote of confidence in the event’s future. The 2011-12 VOR drew only 6 teams. For the 2014-15, already 4 teams have signed up. It’s hoped 8 appear on the Oct. 4 starting line. The skies over professional sport’s “longest and toughest event” start to look blue.
During the recent years of economic doldrums in Europe _ the VOR heartland _ organizers have been at pains to secure a long-term future for their event. They found it in a one-design boat to be run in 2 races keeping participation costs to about €15 million. On the revenue side, the VOR is plumbing marketing opportunities. Its 2011-12 edition generated multi-media exposure that, converted into ad rates, yielded these “media values”: €230.7 million for TV, €35.6 million for print and €47.9 million for online.
Brunel CEO Jan-Arie van Barneveld will not say how much his company is putting into its Dutch boat, skippered by VOR veteran Bouw Bekking, in the 2014-15 race. The race will be the company’s third VOR appearance. “But it’s less costly than previous races that ran to tens of millions of euros. Participating in the 2014-15 race is a significant marketing investment,” he says. Team Brunel is the 4th team to sign up. The others are: Sweden’s all-female Team SCA, Team Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Team Dongfeng (China).
The 2011-12 race generated 4,817 hours of TV broadcasts, up 42% from 2008-09. The VOR counted an accumulative TV audience of 1.55 billion. Clever branding also contributed to a sharp lift in media value for sponsors and teams. On average, each team accrued an average media value of €11.3 million, up 133% from 2008-09. During the last race, broadcasters worldwide downloaded more than 8,000 clips were the VOR site to augment their reporting.
The biggest TV market _ in programming terms _ during the last VOR was the US. Its Fox Sports Network broadcast 1,337 shows: news and live reports and magazine features. These were seen by a combined audience of 32.2 million. Next was Spain with 903 TV broadcasts, followed by the United Arab Emirates (727); France (861); Portugal (652); China (557); South Africa (527); New Zealand (340); Brazil (321); Italy(149); Ireland(133); UK (132); Germany (97) and Sweden (25). China was by far the biggest viewer market: its 557 TV shows reached a cumulative audience of 700 million.
Chances are slim of adding a Dutch stop-over in the VOR now that Team Brunel is on board. The last leg loops from France around Ireland to Gothenburg, Sweden, arriving there in late June. Changing that time slot risks a clash with an international handball tournament that will bring 80,000 people to the Swedish city. The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race starts Oct. 4 in Alicante, Spain and finish nine legs and four oceans later on June 27, 2015 _ a distance of close to 40,000nm