SailGP in discussions to stage race in Spain

The France and Australia teams in action during Cowes SailGP 2019 (by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The organisers behind the international team sailing competition SailGP are in negotiations to host a race in Spain, according to reports in the Spanish press.

SailGP founder Russell Coutts was quoted by Palco23 as saying: “We want to hold an event in Spain in the future, and the country has a number of cities that would be fantastic venues.”

No details were released on which ports were under consideration, though Coutts added that “we have already started talks with potential host cities in Spain, and we are working to implement a competition to choose host city in the future, to ensure that it is efficient and transparent”.

The Spanish SailGP team is a recent addition, joining last December to replace the Chinese team which pulled out after the first season of the series last year. It is sponsored by the Spanish government, through the country’s tourism board Turespaña, with Coutts noting that “it will always be a priority for us to hold events in markets where we have teams”. 

In its debut season, SailGP claimed a total economic impact of $115m (€104.5m) for its five host cities, making staging an event a significant coup for cities which secure the hosting rights. Palco23 suggests that the traditional port cities of Barcelona and Alicante, which strong histories in sailing events, are the most likely candidates within Spain.  

SailGP had previously been attempting to find a venue in China, but those plans were cancelled after the country’s team dropped out.

The second season of SailGP got underway this weekend in Sydney, Australia, the first race of a revised calendar which sees a Danish team and race join the line-up. Copenhagen comes in as the final race of the 2020 season, replacing Marseille in France. In between Sydney and Copenhagen, the series will return to San Francisco, New York and Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, UK. 

Last month, SailGP announced that a minority investment from the Endeavor group had valued the overall series at $200m (€182m).