No Fools

The sponsorship opportunities that affords the America’s Cup teams, now that Barcelona has been confirmed as the venue for 2024, are eye-watering. Add in the huge corporation tax savings in Spain of up to 90% on the sponsor amount and you can understand why top brands and global corporate behemoths are lining up to not only support the event and the teams but interestingly the landscape for sponsorship, to a more personal level, is changing.



Global brands recognise increasingly the power of the sailors and team bosses, rather than the actual syndicates themselves, as they seek to activate heavily into social media and make best use of the huge following that the stars of our sport have gained.

A media wall of sound will pervade AC37 like never before with the corporate world salivating at the prospect of racing taking place just yards off the beach to huge crowds (that’s eyeballs in marketing-speak) and mega free-to-air television and YouTube deals being signed globally.

The inevitable conclusion will see the dawn of a new age in the sailing professional, just like we see in soccer, motor-racing, basketball, American Football etc, as the athletes become wealthy beyond imagination with top brands aligning with their star-dust.



Speaking to Grant Dalton just after the announcement this week, he let slip that a significant deal was in the pipeline for not only himself but Team New Zealand too as the consumer goods giant Unilever has made approaches to become a headline sponsor.

Initial discussions have centred around the promotion of the Marmite brand with the strapline “You either love it or hate it” and we could well see the hull of the Team New Zealand boat remaining black but with a yellow wing to ape the brand. You heard that here first.



Tom Slingsby, fresh from his annihilation of everyone in everything this year, and a confirmed dog lover as the owner of his gorgeous female Bull Terrier ‘Nala’ (the pretty pooch even has an Instagram profile!) is reported to have signed a massive multi-year deal with Nestle Purina to promote their ‘Winalot’ brand. You can see the link.

Nala won’t be going hungry any time soon and Tom’s coffers will be swelled, perhaps making it a bit easier for Terry Hutchinson to sign him for American Magic and lower his reported multi-million dollar demands. Winalot Magic has a ring to it…



Meanwhile Nathan Outteridge, the man very much of the moment and the one that all the marketeers are chasing, has allegedly signed a really classy deal with Chateau d’Esclans in France. It’s a sign of his global appeal, particularly amongst a female audience, that has led to this open-ended, multi year contract with one of the world’s top wine makers.

Now this one confused me initially but Nathan’s rumoured to be being lined up as the face of ‘Whispering Angel’ and if that’s so, he’ll be an even more popular guy in Barcelona – can you imagine the Wind Whisperer’s Whispering Angel party dockside?

Hottest ticket in town.



Pete Burling and Blair Tuke literally have the corporate sponsorship world at their feet with the rumour today that a two year deal has been inked in the run up to the Cup and aligning with their SailGP campaign with Start-Rite, the ubiquitous shoe-wear brand.

The duo will be deeply involved with the creation and tinkering of a new line of carbon sailing boot with the Start-Rite logo heavily emblazoned on the uppers and will no doubt provide a handy reminder onboard in those dying seconds of the start-box. Ray ‘Razor’ Davies was reportedly the go-between in sponsorship negotiations.



Possibly the most interesting sponsorship rumour in the last few hours is the report that Sir Ben has been approached by Universal Interactive Studios and here’s one where we really had to dig deep to find the link.

Initially the natural thought was that the Ineos program was lining up its deep data to formulate a new interactive, virtual platform where e-sports enthusiasts could participate in America’s Cup and SailGP racing. But speaking to the CEO of the software house, their ambitions are more considered. What I’m hearing is a possible alignment with the Crash Bandicoot franchise. I don’t get it personally.



Jimmy Spithill meanwhile has reportedly, and sensationally, dropped Red Bull as personal sponsor citing that his brand has moved on from the extreme sports arena and profile. No longer will the ultimate teenager’s drink be accompanying Jimmy on every podium and every onboard chat and it was a head scratcher as to where Jimmy would land next.

Such is the enormous attraction of the sport’s most competitive individual that any number of marketing teams would love to sign him. So the fake news that he is now in discussions with Red Rooster, the US fast-food chicken house and will be adapting his line about “one day you’re a feather duster, the next you’re…a red rooster” seems to fit perfectly. Delicious call Jimmy.



But the most obvious brand alignment sees two of the sport’s biggest characters lining up possibly the biggest deal of all – and let’s face it, these two always do get the best deal.

Unsubstantiated rumours abound that US footwear brand Crocs have signed both Russell Coutts and Grant Dalton on a short-term, one year deal (as they can’t be sure they won’t retire any day soon) for a new line of vintage footwear – ‘Old Crocs’ are apparently a thing and could be coming to a store near you very soon.

Happy April 1st.


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