Last night, Ellen MacArthur and her team won a top award at the ‘Oscars’ of the sports sponsorship industry clinching the top spot in the Eurostar European Sport Sponsorship category. The Sports Industry Awards ceremony, held at the Old Billingsgate Market in London, was attended by over 1,100 guests, and many of the UK’s sporting stars from the world of athletics, cricket and rugby.
The award is in recognition of MacArthur’s round the world solo record attempt last winter supported by joint title sponsors, and DIY giants, B&Q and Castorama, and come a month after scoring a hat-trick of trophies at the Hollis Sponsorship Awards. The Team Ellen projects managed by the Offshore Challenges Sailing Team [part of the OC Group owned by Ellen MacArthur and Mark Turner] saw off competition from Ford [UEFA Champions League], Shell [Ferrari Technical Partnership] and Visa Europe [Athens 2004 to Torino 2006] to secure the Eurostar European Sport Sponsorship award.
The Sports Industry Awards panel of judges picked the round the world record attempt as a project that ‘best exploited a pan-European sponsorship and successfully achieved the specific brand business objectives it was seeking’.
MacArthur was unable to attend the awards as she is currently in Asia, two-thirds of the way through her ground-breaking Asian Record Circuit, but sent this message: “I feel really pleased for the team to receive further recognition – they deserve it, as they work endless hours to ensure our projects are a success both on and off the water. None of our success is down to chance or luck – it is down to planning, commitment and having clear objectives for ourselves and our sponsors.” The Commercial Team at the OC Group have yet to secure a new title sponsor to take over from B&Q this summer, but a number of positive discussions are under way with potential new sponsors keen to share in the successful formula of the team. [B&Q’s sponsorship comes to a contractual end at the end of the summer.]
With MacArthur’s sailing campaigns having made a huge impact in the UK, France and other parts of the world following her extraordinary eight-year sailing career [MacArthur currently holds nine ratified world records], Ellen and her crew are now making an impact in Asia as they race the <> trimaran from port to port, establishing new record times between Japan, South Korea, mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore on the Asian Record Circuit. http://www.asianrecordcircuit.com
The new multi-faceted record sailing programme created by OC Events [part of the OC Group of companies], finally offers sailing campaigns and their sponsors access to the burgeoning Asian market – a common request for European based sponsorships. Mark Turner, CEO of the OC Group, commented: “The objective of the Asian Record Circuit in respect to the long-term is to create a much needed ‘product’ in the Asia region that appeals to project sponsors in the future.”
Already the media returns are paying dividends for B&Q Asia plus other key sponsors, such as, Omega and SEEDA who have implemented campaigns to exploit the Asian activity further. With appearances on CCTV [China’s national state-run TV channel] with estimated audience figures in excess of 500 million, front cover news on national newspapers, such as the China Daily, and other major regional papers including Shanghai Daily, Dalian Evening News, South China Morning Post and leading Chinese magazines, such as Redstar Magazine, Arena and Beijing Youth Weekly, the project has hit the headlines providing extensive exposure for the team’s sponsors in key markets. “The coverage so far on this tour has been very impressive, especially in China, which is a particularly hard market to penetrate. But Ellen’s achievements, and the appearance of a boat that no one here has ever really seen before, has captured the public’s and media’s attention. We are delighted with the results,” said Steve Gilman, CEO B&Q Asia.
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