Some sports have a problem with being seen as elitist. The sport of yacht racing is being rebranded as sailing to appeal to a wider audience and even the oldest sporting trophy – the America’s Cup is trying (unsuccessfully) to shake off hundreds of years of positioning as the sport of billionaires and tycoons.
Other sports which require a significant investment in the assets required to participate – like sports car racing – don’t mind so much that the audience is small. Quality rather than quantity is the over-riding mantra that sees up to 50 expensive, purpose built racing cars on starting grids around the world.
Sports like offshore powerboat racing, air racing and polo might have relatively small communities or social media presence, but the brands that support the passions of the owners, participants and fans of these sports are after a different kind of customer – a VIP.
In a world where ‘money-can’t-buy’ is just a catch phrase, how do you give your VIP customers, affiliates, partners, employees an experience that they will remember forever? How do you entertain a customer who has watched the final of Wimbledon from the best seats in the house or the 100 meter final at the Olympics on the finish line?
Motorsport & Sailsport allow guests to be part of the team. Yacht Racing in particular has realised that putting guests on the boat during the race is something that very few other sports can match – you can play a round of golf next to Rory Mcilroy but you won’t affect his score.
Walking around ICE Totally Gaming and the London Affiliate Conference (LAC) last week, I realised how powerful a database of high-net-worth owners and drivers can be.
These are people that are almost impossible to engage with – you won’t find them on Linkedin and if they Tweet, they do so rarely. However if, as a brand, you support their passion you buy the right to position your products and services in places where they will be noticed. You may even get the chance to build relationships and do business.
In High-Net-Worth Sport, media value becomes a ‘nice to have’, but unfortunately the value of the networking and awareness among an elite group of customers is hard to measure accurately. Perhaps that is why companies that have affiliate models are so keen on high-net-worth sport at the moment.