Event sponsors Skandia make a surprise announcement about a new international sponsorship agreement

Event sponsors Skandia make a surprise announcement about a new international sponsorship agreement.

Tracey Clarke caught up with Skandia’s Group Marketing Director André Oszmann just before the announcement:

TC: I believe there is an exciting development for Skandia?

AO: Absolutely, we’re going to be sponsoring Skandia Geelong Week which is an event rather like Cowes Week but in the Southern hemisphere in a place called Geelong in Port Philip near Melbourne.

TC: Perhaps that explains the contingent from Geelong who visited Skandia Cowes Week last year?

AO: Yes indeed, they came over here to do a recce, basically to see how Cowes Week ran. We got talking to them, it became apparent there might be something there of interest for us. We went down to see it in January when it runs. It runs up to Australia day each year. Immediately we go there we saw this is like Cowes Week in Australia. It’s just the perfect vehicle for our “Set Sail” campaign to use as a core with Cowes Week.

TC: Is your sponsorship on a similar financial level as Cowes Week?

AO: The amounts we’re talking about is something we can’t disclose, but it’s Aussie dollars so it won’t be the same.

TC: But, roughly on a par?

AO: I suppose it’s probably equivalent to what Cowes was when we took it over in Australian terms.

TC: What will it mean for any competitors here? Will there be any reciprocal deals for sailing in both?

AO: Well, yes tonight we’ll be plucking out a crew, we’ve chosen them, they don’t know who they are, and they’ll be flown to Geelong to compete over there, let’s hope they’re not going skiing that week. We also hope to do the same the other way.

TC: Have you got a big base in Australia already?

AO: We have got a relatively young operation in Australia but it’s really growing very fast and is one of the bright new stars for us.

TC: What plans have you got for the regatta itself?

AO: We want, with the organisers the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, to grow it steadily. We don’t want to run before we can walk.

To give you some perspective the scale of the event is about, in terms of competitors, about half the size of Cowes. It definitely has the capacity, in the longer term, to grow to the same size, 900 plus boats and that’s the aim. But you can’t do that overnight for lots of reasons including you just wouldn’t get the people there. If you need the infrastructure needs building, the marina and so on. But that’s the long term aim. Meantime we want to do some of the things we did here like introduce corporate sailing and other new classes, bit more round the cans because they tend to do windward/leeward courses and work closely between the two events, we’re planning to twin the two events and that means sharing race management, sharing all sorts of things so that both events can benefit from each other both in promotional terms but also most importantly to make it better for the competitors and the “must-be” places for sailing twice a year instead of once.

TC: Is there a long term commitment?

AO: Yes it’s an initial four year deal then, the same as with Cowes, we have rolling deals and if it goes well which I have every confidence it will then we’ll be looking to continue it but lets just get the first year out of the way.

TC: You talk about twining is that a hint you might be rolling on with Cowes Week?

AO: Well, you never know!!!