SailGP delivered more than ever in Season 3 for fans, partners, host cities and its athletes. The global championship once again showed why it is one of the world’s fastest growing sports properties with a look back at the figures that made Season 3 record-breaking in every sense.
With Canada and Switzerland joining the line-up for Season 3, a total of nine equal, hydrofoiling F50s competed in 11 events around the world, up from eight events in Season 2. More athletes joined SailGP on its journey to a leading inclusive championship with 26 female athletes engaging in competitive racing, up from 15 in Season 2. The number of participants in SailGP’s Inspire program – a global youth community program with careers, learnings and racing activities – also grew, topping 14,665 in Season 3, far exceeding the five-year target set of 10,000 participants.
More fans than ever before witnessed SailGP and, with a total dedicated broadcast audience of over 117 million, it was three-times that of the Season 2 audience. There was also significant growth in the secondary audience (news and sports programming), with a 27% increase on Season 2 with 998.8 million viewers. Over 800+ hours of SailGP was broadcast globally which was seen in over 205 territories around the globe, a 10% increase on Season 2.
In particular, the U.S. market saw a significant increase of 82% on Season 2 to over 10 million viewers with a highlight of 1.6 million viewers tuning into the Saint-Tropez event on CBS which was won by the United States SailGP Team, this represented the highest rating for the sport in the United States in over 30 years.
Fans continued to devour SailGP’s online offerings, with a 240% increase seen in social media video views and a 136% increase in impressions. The league’s social following grew over 44% to now sit above 1.6 million fans. The world’s press generated more than 31,000 pieces of coverage on the league, a 31% increase on Season 2, and the number of spectators soared 43%, with over 206,000 fans lining the shores at SailGP’s ‘race-stadia’ around the world to witness the high-speed action.
On the water the F50s went faster than ever, with a new top speed of 99.94 km/h recorded by the France SailGP Team at the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez. That data came from the Oracle Cloud, an integral part of SailGP, which processed 48 billion data points per race day, an increase of 8 billion on last season.
The host cities in which SailGP held events shared in a total economic impact amount that was 91% higher than that seen in Season 2, with an average economic impact per event of US$13.9 million. Cadiz in Andalucia, Spain saw a record economic impact for a single SailGP event at $56.9 million with an estimated 98,000 spectators enjoying the race action during the two event days.
SailGP also made strong progress in its ambition to become the world’s most purpose-driven and sustainable global sports and entertainment platform.
The League won two industry-leading awards - the BBC Green Sports Ambition and Action Award and the Sports Industry Environmental Sustainability Award - while chief purpose officer Fiona Morgan was highly commended in the edie Sustainability Leader of the Year award.
The Impact League, SailGP’s podium for the planet, delivered even greater impact in Season 3 as it incentivized teams to reduce their overall footprint and help accelerate inclusivity in sailing. Season 3 winners of the Impact League – Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL – cleared more than five Tons of ocean-bound waste, while its Beneath The Surface sustainability content series attracted more than 25 million views on YouTube.
SailGP also progressed its transition to clean energy. Through optimizing event operations and embedding clean energy technologies, a total saving of 250 Tons of carbon dioxide emissions was made across the season.
On the water, SailGP increased electrification and sustainable operation across its support fleet and trialed the first marine application of sustainable gasoline, enabling a saving of up to 3.4 Tons of carbon dioxide across its European events. SailGP’s Season 3 Purpose & Impact Report with detailed results will be published in August.
SailGP managing director Andy Thompson said: “Few sports leagues globally can boast the level of growth and set of achievements SailGP has managed in just three seasons. Season 3 viewership represented the largest dedicated global TV audience seen for the sport of sailing in recent history and our social following continues to exceed expectations. The work of our athletes and staff around the world, and the support of our incredible partners is to be applauded for making this possible, alongside the passionate enthusiasm of our ever-growing fanbase. This is still the beginning of the journey for SailGP and I share the excitement of everyone at SailGP in continuing to grow throughout the next season and beyond.”
The global organization worked with Engage Digital, PwC Bermuda, Deloitte, YouGov ® Sport and Meltwater to look at all areas of the business and help understand the full impact of SailGP in its third season. A comprehensive season report will be available later this year.
SailGP Season 4 is just around the corner, starting with the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier on June 16-17, the first of 12 events that will see new events in Los Angeles, Canada and the Middle East, alongside the return of Italy and New York to the calendar, and fan favourite locations such as Sydney, San Francisco and Saint-Tropez.