SailGP claims $115m economic impact for five host cities

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

The organisers of SailGP have stated the debut season of the sailing series attracted more than 133,000 spectators and generated a total economic impact of $115m (€104.5m) for its five host cities.

In association with Deloitte, YouGov Sport and Meltwater, SailGP has assessed all areas of the business after its first campaign as it looks to open its 2020 season in Sydney, Australia on February 28-29.

After launching in London in October 2018, SailGP opened its season four months later in Sydney in February. The six national teams representing Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States then proceeded to events in San Francisco, New York and Cowes. The Grand Final took place in Marseille, France, last month where Tom Slingsby’s Australian team was victorious, landing sailing’s largest monetary prize of $1m.

SailGP said the five events resulted in an overall economic impact of $115m, including $29m for Marseille. The US saw the biggest return, with more than $44m put into the economy between the San Francisco and New York events. The total expenditure across all five cities in relation to SailGP equated to $130m.

The biggest crowd came in New York, where more than 40,000 spectators watched from the banks of the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan. In total, 133,244 spectators watched the action unfold across the various events.

SailGP delivered programming to more than 100 broadcast territories, as well as a complementary app further extending coverage. Organisers said the league attracted a cumulative event broadcast audience of 247 million, through 1,519 hours of dedicated broadcast programming plus secondary television news coverage.

International broadcast rights to the series are distributed by the London-based Talisman media rights consultancy.

In addition to the live programming offered across SailGP’s social platforms, the digital-first property distributed 2,042 short-form videos during the event periods, contributing to 334 million views and potential impressions. Meanwhile, 138,254 downloads of the SailGP app have been recorded to-date.

As part of its strategy to broaden the fanbase, SailGP entered the esports arena at its final event in Marseille. Organisers said 11,429 eSailGP races took place during the Marseille season finale.

SailGP chief executive Sir Russell Coutts said: “As a new global sports league, we have learned a lot in our first season that we can’t wait to put into practice next year as we continue to grow SailGP into a sustainable, international sports property that can compete alongside other professional sports.”