The official media figures for the 2009 Extreme Sailing Series have been released today by OC Events and show a 40% increase in the value of media coverage versus the previous year, as measured by independent evaluation agency Havas Sponsorship Insights.
Highlights within Europe include over 8h 35 minutes of evaluated TV news (only) broadcasts, 894 articles or features evaluated in printed media, 770 articles on the internet, 149 broadcast features evaluated on TV and radio and 228 accredited media attending the seven events (the Paris launch and six events). In addition, UK terrestrial station, Channel 4, broadcast a specially produced stand-alone highlights programme for the first time in 2009 and are now interested in broadcasting a full series of programmes in 2010.
Over 535 hours of TV exposure, between news and programming, was evaluated alongside print exposure in publications with an 82 million cumulative circulation.
Havas has conservatively estimated the value of media coverage achieved by the Extreme Sailing Series in 2009 as €5.9million. This is a great result for this ground-breaking sailing circuit, especially considering that coverage was monitored only in six European markets (key markets for 2009 title sponsor iShares) and only for a short period either side of each event. As such this figure only represents a part of the media return that event and team sponsors received.
Alastair Macdonald, Director, Havas Sponsorship Insights, the independent media evaluation agency commented, "Given the nature and value of the benefits delivered for the title partner iShares, our view would be that, relative to the scale of investment involved from the sponsor, the sponsorship represents a highly cost-effective marketing investment, delivering an extremely favourable rate of return."
OC Group uses such absolute figures in absolute terms with caution. In the Extreme Sailing Series return on investment for event and team sponsors comes in many ways plus everyone has a different methodology for measurement of the media value. "We see a lot of figures bandied around the sport which simply don't correspond to reality, so we prefer to use our independent evaluations primarily to measure our own performance and to drive us to increase quantity and quality of coverage for both the event and team sponsors", commented Lou Newlands, Communications Director, of event owners OC Group.
The monitoring service, conducted by Durrants and its partner agencies, was restricted to the six key territories that were the targets for title partner iShares, namely UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Spain, over a limited period. For the broadcast media, the monitoring ran from four days prior to four days post each event and for print and online media for two weeks prior and two weeks post. By territory, France delivered the highest media value, followed by the UK, Spain and Germany.
The 2009 media report provides quantifiable media figures but of equal importance is the qualitative side of the success of the Extreme Sailing Series which continues to grab headlines and excite the non-sailing sector of the press: "At last sailing that can be appreciated by the spectator onshore. Very fast, spills and thrills and so close you sometimes get wet from their spray. Around this form of the sport you can set up grandstands, hospitality boxes, beer tents, rig up live commentary and a sound system, attract television coverage and give the sponsors value for money..." Brendan Gallagher: The Daily Telegraph [UK National]
Lou Newlands commented, "We are really pleased with the outcome, particularly in such a tough economic time with the drop in advertising rates (used as basis for evaluation). We appointed Havas at the beginning of 2009 to give us a marketplace evaluation of our coverage. We decided that we wanted to apply harsher and 'realistic' figures on the value of media return for our teams and sponsors. Havas applies these marketplace values to the coverage, evaluating each piece individually, therefore in some areas, particularly the internet, the quantity and quality has increased, but the value is lower than last year. We feel confident in these figures - in particular as a measure on our performance year on year."
"The growing media value demonstrates the enormous draw of the Extreme Sailing Series for the media offering them a variety of angles including feature, sport or business stories, as well as having the chance to race onboard. With the on-water action and top level hospitality it is a unique package that is entertaining both VIP guests and the media alike, attracting attention for all the right reasons."