Assia Grazioli-Venier, one of the freshly unveiled investors in the U.S. SailGP Team, has heralded SailGP’s efforts to create a gender equal championship as ‘mind-blowing’.

Speaking at SBJ’s Dealmakers event, Grazioli-Venier, who co-founded Muse Capital, reflected on her own experiences ‘championing women in sports, on boards and in business’.

“After building a career in and around and in parallel with men’s sports, I like to think I have a knack for spotting the opportunities in and around the commercialization of women’s sport,” she said.

Season 4 // Assia Grazioli-Venier dealmakers panel

She added that she was ‘intrigued’ by SailGP’s Women’s Pathway, which provides world-class training and development for female athletes.

“We’ll probably end up with having an equal team of men and women and the idea you’re not just competing with all-women and all-men teams, but with a full, diverse boat is really just mind-blowing for me.”

Season 4 // Emirates GBR strategist Hannah Mills grinding in Taranto

The Women’s Pathway also presents a ‘huge commercial opportunity’, she said, well beyond just ‘getting more women driving and in positions on the boats’.

“You open up a whole world, and it’s not just a world where you get more women on boats, you get them telling their stories - you get them being part of the conversation, and that’s a real business driver for us.”

Women's Pathway Program // Denmark // Katja Salskov-Iversen

Grazioli-Venier appeared on a panel alongside SailGP managing director Andy Thompson and incoming U.S. SailGP Team CEO Mike Buckley.

Reflecting on the sale of the U.S. team, the largest team acquisition in SailGP history, Thompson said the deal was ‘a validation of the vision we wanted when we set up SailGP’.

Buckley meanwhile summed up the group of investors backing the U.S. team as ‘people doing epic things with their lives’.

Season 4 // Liv Mackay outside New Zealand Team base

“We went out and found people who are from other sports, other areas of business who were doing really epic things, whether that’s on the football field, a soccer pitch or in a Hollywood film studio, and our belief is that now we have the tools to bring the mainstream to SailGP,” he said.

SBJ’s two-day Dealmakers event profiles some of the biggest senior execs in sports, finance, media and technology in conversations centered around the sports industry.

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