It’sbudget time for the Vendée Globe, with one eye on the edition that just ended and the other on that of 2020, which already has numerous interested skippers scoring, some of whom have already purchased the boat or planned to build it. It was the Vendée globe of records, with Armel Le Cleac’h winning in 74 days, but there is much more behind a regatta that has now become a global media event giant.
The solo round-the-world trip, without stopovers and assistance, was not only a great human, technological and sporting challenge, but also as we said an event that gave sponsors a huge media return, certified by impressive numbers. There were a total of 2.2 million visitors to Les Sables d’Olonne, over 1.5 million at the start and the remainder at the arrivals. In 2012-2013, however, the total had been about 1.8 million people.
The resulting media backlash is no less: an estimated 45,000 “pieces” were written about the regatta, a 36% covered by TV (In France, Globe coverage is also extensive on television, with 605 hours of total broadcasting devoted to the regatta), 22% by the print media, 19% by the web, 15% on social media, and 8% by radio. There were 1676 accredited journalists at the Vendée village in Les Sables, those on the official regatta website 2180.
There were 264,000 Facebook followers, 54,000 Twitter followers, daily live streams had a total of 13 million viewers, 71 million views of the regatta videos. The overall media return is estimated to be 20 percent higher than the 2012-2013 edition; total coverage on the five continents was 190 countries, compared to the ten nations represented by the competing skippers.
The success of this edition was then also in the numbers on the water: it is the first time in the history of the Vendée Globe that as many as 18 skippers, out of 29 starters, cross the finish line of the race.
With numbers like these, the regatta is confirmed as never before as a media event with no precedent in the history of sailing and with few rivals in the sports world in general. For France, and the Vendée in particular, it is a golden goose: in addition to the great sporting aspect, there is indeed a huge economic and image return. For companies that have decided to believe in skippers’ sports projects, the investment on image return is assured. Italian companies, do you understand? Dare, have courage, in Italy you will be spoiled for choice on capable skippers to choose from.