Sailing-Ainslie gets new backer on board as SailGP gains fans

FILE PHOTO: Ben Ainslie, CEO, Great Britain SailGP Team and INEOS Britannia, speaks to guests during the annual Reuters IMPACT summit in London, Britain October 4, 2022. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Ben Ainslie hailed a new investment valuing his privately-owned SailGP team at $40 million as a vote of confidence in sailing's equivalent of Formula One.

London-based Misland Capital will join Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor, as a shareholder in the privately-owned Great Britain SailGP Team.

"SailGP is progressing well. This shows the growth of the league, which is what we are all excited about," Ainslie said of the high-octane racing in catamarans which "foil" above the water at speeds nearing 100 kilometres per hour.

The brainchild of Oracle chairman Larry Ellison and New Zealand sailor Russell Coutts, SailGP is now into its third season with nine teams, an expanding global event footprint, increasing sponsorship and a fast-growing television audience.

"Sailing has been crying out for a circuit like this that's cot the continuity not just on the water but commercially," Ainslie, 45, told Reuters in an interview from the Spanish Mediterranean island of Mallorca.

Ainslie, who will remain his team's majority owner, said there were further commercial deals in the pipeline, both for the British entry and the league, which was "on the verge of signing a really impressive partnership".

"The key message is there are people who are investing in this league and franchise in a significant manner," Ainslie said, adding that while SailGP still owns most of the teams, it is looking to them to adopt a similar structure to his.

Ainslie may lead the fleet when it comes to financial independence, but is fourth on the leaderboard after an "unfortunate" loss last month to Australia's Tom Slingsby.

However, with four more events to complete to earn a place in next year's winner-takes-all $1 million grand final in San Francisco, he is confident of his crew's consistency.

"That final race, it will be anyone's for the taking."

(Reporting by Alexander Smith; Editing by Toby Davis)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Others

NFL quarterback Tom Brady says he is retiring 'for good'
Olympics-Latvia would not send athletes to Olympics if Russia and Belarus included
Olympics-Paris 2024 organisers will abide by IOC decision on Russia's participation
Aaliyah mindful of heavier workload away from the waters
Spur for Olympic glitter
Russia says it would welcome moves to allow its athletes at Olympics
Ukraine on mission to ban Russia from Olympics, IOC says sanctions stand
Surfing-World's best surfers kick off 2023 tour at Pipeline, Olympic spots beckon
Olympics-IOC rejects 'defamatory' criticism from Ukraine
Teen triathlete Isaac pumped up for SEA Games debut

Others Also Read