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China TV deal a ‘dramatic’ coup for tourism

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Harvey Schiller, the America’s Cup commercial commissioner

Bermuda has increasingly featured on China’s radar this summer, but coverage from the America’s Cup stands to boost our profile “dramatically”.

The world’s most populous country will view Bermuda up close for the races, Harvey Schiller, the America’s Cup commercial commissioner, told The Royal Gazette.

With the lsland’s scenery highlighted as much as the races, Dr Schiller agreed that securing Chinese coverage represented a coup for local tourism.

“I would suggest that for Bermuda, its effect will not just be on tourism, but on future business interests — it will be dramatic,” he said.

The television deal, announced last month, represents “a tremendous addition” for the Cup, which organisers expect will be broadcast in “almost every country in the world”.

Preparations for the event have been gathering pace, with the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club now named the official hotel for the Cup.

Key events will be hosted at the renovated waterfront premises.

Dr Schiller said that the America’s Cup chief commercial officer, Dan Barnett, had been courting broadcasters worldwide, including coverage for more than 50 French-speaking countries.

China, not known for its interest in sailing, may even contribute its own team to the America’s Cup, which the securing of a broadcast deal could support.

China’s recent stock market performance has alarmed economists, but the summer has gone well for the Asian giant’s business interests.

Last week, the White Mountains Insurance Group, based in Bermuda, agreed to sell its Sirius reinsurance branch to Chinese investors in a deal worth $2.23 billion.

“It’s a very positive thing for Bermuda — different areas of the world are looking to the Island as a platform to support their business, and this new deal emanating from mainland China speaks to the level of experience and traction that Bermuda has developed in becoming a centre of excellence,” said Greg Wojciechowski, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Stock Exchange.

Last month, a new healthcare insurance vehicle was announced for Bermuda, to be established by Guangdong Wing Yue Investment Co — and Panda Re, the first China catastrophe bond set up on the Island, appeared on the Bermuda Stock Exchange.

Harvey Schiller, the America’s Cup commercial commissioner, and Premier Michael Dunkley celebrate the Island winning the right to host the event (File photograph by Gilles Martin-Raget via ACEA)