SailGP, the purpose-led global racing league, has announced a new regional structure and team for Asia Pacific as it heads into an expanded fourth season and plans for long-term commercial success.

The league welcomed a record-breaking third season that saw SailGP capture the imagination of fans worldwide and achieve unprecedented success. SailGP’s significant growth in Asia Pacific in Season 3 included a 110% increase in New Zealand’s dedicated broadcast audience, with a sold out event in the first ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch.

Fans flocked to Ōtautahi, Christchurch to watch all the racing action

Australia saw a 90% increase in its dedicated broadcast audience in Season 3, which included the expansion of its award winning broadcast to secure its first ever free-to-air broadcast partnership with the Seven Network for the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney. Over 22,000 fans turned out to watch the rival national teams compete at the Australia and New Zealand events. Collectively, the events reached an impressive 731 million people worldwide.

With SailGP’s focus on continued growth and commercialisation for Season 4 and beyond, the appointment of the Asia Pacific (APAC) regional model will ensure significant growth among its key Asia Pacific regions. These include Australia, New Zealand and other Asian markets such as China.

The fans were out in force to watch the Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final

The APAC regional team will be organised into three key business pillars including commercial, events and marketing/communications that will work in collaboration to further develop SailGP’s brand awareness and fan base throughout Asia Pacific. The team will also lead on the delivery of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Auckland and KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney. SailGP has appointed the roles using its current talent pool, with key promotions made internally.

Karl Budge will take on a wider role as Commercial Director of Asia Pacific, focusing on the commercialisation of the Australia and New Zealand Teams, in addition to the APAC markets. Until now, Budge has been the New Zealand Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Event. Budge brings to the role extensive experience from working across other sport properties such as Tennis Australia and New Zealand Rugby.

Leah Trafford will step into the role of Regional Event Director of Asia Pacific, where she will oversee the operational delivery of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix I Auckland, the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney and future Asia Pacific events. Trafford will bring her wealth of experience to the role, having delivered four events in Australia in her previous role as Australia Event & Commercial Director.

Olivia Hogan will move from her role as Australia Senior Marketing and Communications Manager to Head of Marketing and Communications for Asia Pacific. Hogan will focus on building, leading and executing the APAC marketing and communications strategy with the aim of growing SailGP’s brand awareness and fanbase, working closely with SailGP’s local teams in each market.

Andrew Thompson, SailGP Managing Director, said: "The Asia Pacific region holds immense promise for SailGP, and establishing a dedicated team and business structure is a testament to our commitment to capitalize on the tremendous growth opportunities in this market. We believe that by tailoring our commercial efforts to the region's unique dynamics, we can further elevate the SailGP experience for fans, partners, and sponsors in Asia Pacific."

SailGP Season 4 commenced earlier this month with the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix I Chicago at Navy Pier on June 16-17. The expanded season will comprise of twelve events spanning across four continents, over 13 months. The league will make a record fifth visit to the iconic Sydney Harbour on February 24-25 for the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix. Following that, and after a sold out and hugely successful New Zealand debut in Christchurch last month, the second iteration of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix will take place in Auckland on March 23-24.