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S MacLeod

Member Since 21 Apr 2008
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:16 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Does anyone here support Coutts?

28 July 2014 - 12:17 PM

Let's get a few things straight, because there is a lot of OTT blind assertions being made. But first, an important disclaimer. I loved the AC72's and i am excited about the AC62's. I think we have the right boats for the event and the race format wasn't too bad.




Don't kid yourselves about the spectacle. After the thrill of seeing foiling high speed boats wore off, which for most who aren't diehards was pretty quick, the racing was boring until the comeback was well underway. I know many sailors who watched the first few matches, got bored and didn't tune back in until the score was something like 8-5. If ETNZ had won 8-2 or 8-3, we would all be saying "great boats, boring racing". Once you got used to the fact ETNZ could sail past OR at will upwind, the excitement of place changing went. Even somebody like me, who is a total obsessive for this type of thing, missed a fair number of the races in the middle of the event. My guess is that if you were an OR fan, you kept watching out of hope and if you were an ETNZ fan, you watched to see your team win. For others, it became predictable and boring, until the comeback.


As for viewing figures, there is no doubt they were disappointing. And to suggest that there has never been so many people watching an event from the shore is simply wrong. The ESS has got bigger crowds at certain events and the start of the Vendee gets bigger crowds as well. I even suspect that the daily total at Naples ACWS was bigger than the crowd in SF. The total visitor figures were well short of predicted numbers. Official figures for visitors to offical sites was only 1 million in total, while AC32 had a total of over 2.8 million. 


It is a simple fact that despite being some of the most spectacular boats ever, the overall viewing figures, be it live, TV, internet etc fell well short of expectations and in most areas, didn't produce the bigger audiences that RC said he was after. For the fairly few hardcore enthusiasts, it was brilliant, but it failed to achieve the growth in audiences that RC said were needed to make the event more commercially sustainable.


I believe that the poor figures were due to so few teams. Even poor teams bring in audiences from their home country and those audiences are more likely to keep watching after their team is out. The only way to broaden the appeal is to have more teams. It is that simple. And the only way to get more teams is to get costs under control. That is possible without losing any of the spectacle, because the boats make up a relatively small portion of the budget needed.


I agree with your thoughts on the spectacle of the foiling cats.  However,  I don't think just lowering the costs will get more teams to sail AC62's


 - There aren't enough qualified sailors to sail 11 AC62's at a high enough level.  Again, we don't want to kill someone

 - There is not a large enough pool of designers for 11 teams

 - Where will future team owners come from?  

 - One of the great selling points was the ability for the owner or sponsor to sail on the boat.  That is gone


I hope they can make the event commercially sustainable with 4-5 teams in AC62's.  However, it won't be easy 

In Topic: Does anyone here support Coutts?

25 July 2014 - 02:56 AM

230K is a lot for the US, the most ever. In NZ they were getting about a million per race towards the end. Those are pretty dang big numbers.

I get that owner-racer series appeal to many of the moneyed owners and that's fine. Let them stick to those RC44s, TP52s, even Js, series that like with the WMRT almost nobody cares about either. Absolutely nobody is forcing them to step up the the big leagues. That's exactly as it should be.


The ratings in 07 were higher and they and more teams and countries who broadcast the event.


The money-race-owner is who steps up to the AC and funds a team.  That's where Larry came from, Koch, etc...  You want more teams that's your market for team owners and they sail mono-hulls.

In Topic: Does anyone here support Coutts?

25 July 2014 - 02:37 AM

But Scott's advice comes from his experience running the WMRT, and he gave up on that.

Think about that sailing series: it's neat enough in a narrow way but: Outside of a very few dozen people, absolutely nobody cares to follow it. Nobody ever hears about it, nobody cares. It's as boring as batshit. That they race in monohulls can't save it, and so the argument for a return to monohulls based on that event falls flat.


When the WMRT serviced the cup as the training series it was very successful in monohulls.  I'm not personally against multi-hulls but a mono-hull will deliver more teams.


 - Less cost for teams

 - More readily available designers, builders, etc.

  - A greater pool of qualified sailors to sail the boats

 - Owners!  Yes, the guys who pays for these teams...where do they come from.  They sail and campaign mono-hulls.  


The ratings for the final race of the AC on NBC-SN was a .08  Yes, point zero eight.  That's 230,000 viewers and that's not falling flat?  

In Topic: Does anyone here support Coutts?

25 July 2014 - 01:24 AM

So it's not about strong well funded teams and wet your pants bad ass boats.

Its about Scott waxing longingly about the money he could be making from those pretender teams no one remembers.


Right, 3 well funded teams from 3 countries = 3 real broadcasters = No "commercial" event.


11 shit teams from 9 countries = 9 real broadcasters = euro 60M profit for the event distributed to the teams in 2007


I guess you did well in Math at school...not

In Topic: Does anyone here support Coutts?

24 July 2014 - 09:27 PM

What does MacLeod mean by, "Use a platform type that is used by and available to a wider group, (owners, sailors, designers, builders, etc."


Sounds like he's suggesting something completely cheap, pedestrian and boring.

You might get a bunch of low level  teams to enter but who would give a fuck?

That's not special.  Its not the AC.


I agree.  Maybe if we had 50 foot foiling moths with 6 guys on traps it would be amusing, but old slow mono slugs?  Nope.


But the fact that Scott is speaking out against Russell's plan at all is huge.  Scott has done a ton of business in Bermuda sailing, and he basically just told them they are going to get screwed.  There is no question Scott knows the Bermuda sailing sponsorship market better than anyone.  He's had his finger on the pulse of sponsorship in sailing on a global level for a very long time.  Part of what he is saying is he knows what would appeal to sponsors and at what price.  


The AC is a game for really rich guys who can have some of their costs offset by sponsors.  No one is getting to the starting line based only on corporate sponsorship.  There has to be a sugar daddy (or sugar government) somewhere to prime the pump initially.  


Hi Peter - I'm not out to speak against Russell.  I just don't agree with what he's is doing with the event and the business model.  I keep seeing people who talk about a commercially sustainable event and the reality of the math points back to mono-hulls.  More teams = more $$$.  I think the foiling cats are great, very cool technology and visually cool but they haven't moved the needle and haven't produced more teams to make a "sustainable" event.  People will say the sport can't go "backwards"  Well 11 challengers in 2007 to 3 in 2013 isn't forward.  


BTW - I sold the WMRT in 2009 and got out of the sport in 2009.  Working now on a motor sports project and Eric Clapton's final shows at Royal Albert Hall  


It would be great to see the AC become commercially viable again as I had a very good business around it in Valencia in 07