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Corporate partners excited by potential boost from SailGP

Boost expected: Cross Island, at Dockyard, was the hub for the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. The return of racing foiling catamarans for the SailGP Bermuda Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess, has created excitement among the event’s local corporate partners (File photograph)

Bermuda could see a $23 million economic impact from the return of foiling catamarans to the island for SailGP’s Bermuda Grand Prix in April, and that has local partners excited.

The $23 million figure is the average impact calculated per venue during the SailGP’s inaugural season, which brought a financial boost to hotels, restaurants and other businesses as a result of the sailing grand prix.

Four years after the island hosted the 35th America’s Cup, which featured F50 foiling catamarans, Bermuda will stage SailGP’s second season opening event on April 24-25. The island is also the location for pre-season training for the eight national teams who will contest the televised race series, which in its first season attracted a global audience of more than 256 million.

Corporate partners of SailGP’s Bermuda Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess have expressed support and excitement for the economic and community benefits it will bring.

Hamilton Princess & Beach Club is the title sponsor. Tim Morrison, general manager, said it will offer locals an incredible opportunity to witness world-class sport up close and inspire a generation of young Bermudian sailors. He added: “We hope to host many more such events in the years to come, and we look forward to seeing the public at the Bermuda Grand Prix.”

Royal Naval Dockyard is the host venue for the event and the pre-season training. Andrew Dias, general manager, West End Development Corporation, said: “Not only does the Royal Naval Dockyard’s deep-rooted maritime history and culture make this event an obvious fit, but the values of the SailGP organisation — gender equity, inclusion, meaningful social impact and engagement, complemented by the founding belief in honest competition based on hard work and personal development — make it a natural partnership the entire Dockyard community welcomes.”

He added: “After a year plagued with uncertainty, this opportunity presents a beacon of hope which was afforded to us due to the diligence, cooperation and collaboration demonstrated by the entire Bermudian community.”

BF&M Ltd is an official sponsor of the Bermuda Grand Prix. John Wight, chairman and chief executive officer, said: “We were a main sponsor of the 35th America’s Cup and are an ongoing main sponsor of its legacy Endeavour programme, which continues to introduce the sport of sailing, for free, to thousands of middle-school students of all backgrounds. Importantly, Endeavour connects students to an activity which is deeply ingrained in Bermuda’s maritime history and heritage.”

Mr Wight said the grand prix would shine a light on Bermuda as a safe, world class venue. He added: “In 2017, BF&M founded the No Limits sailing programme in partnership with Endeavour and BASE, for children living with autism spectrum disorders, and we continue to be the sole sponsor of what in 2021 will be the fifth year of this popular and very successful initiative. We are excited to support the return of a world-calibre sailing event like SailGP. Once again, there will be a community engagement piece associated with the event, which we value.”

Michael Collins, chairman and CEO of Butterfield Group, an official sponsor, said hosting the world-class sail racing championship would accelerate Bermuda’s tourism recovery and create employment and other income-generating opportunities “for some of those who need them most”.

Another sponsor is RenaissanceRe. Keil Gunther, head of global marketing and client communications, said: “After a year of virtual meetings and cancelled global events, we are looking forward to entertaining our international partners safely, which Bermuda’s excellent Covid-19 measures make possible. We believe the SailGP event will bolster the Island’s economy with opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs in service of the teams and spectators, and inspire our young people to take part in the sport of sailing.”

She added: “As a Bermudian, I’m always excited when we are able to showcase to new audiences the beauty, culture and hospitality of our island, which has long made us a special place to visit.”

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Published November 24, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated November 23, 2020 at 6:42 pm)

Corporate partners excited by potential boost from SailGP

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