Results from ongoing and extensive media research in specific territories, confirm that the Volvo Ocean Race is reaching a wider audience than ever before.
The Volvo Ocean Race was formerly The Whitbread Round the World Race, and on examination of the media coverage the event achieved four years ago, the statistics show a huge improvement.
"This is largely due to the media strategy put in place for the race" explains Mark Howell, media director for the Volvo Ocean Race. "News coverage, to compliment our specific programming, has been a priority for the Volvo Ocean Race and we are delighted that more than 350 broadcasters worldwide are receiving our daily feeds which in turn allow newsrooms all over the world to report on race, engaging a larger and more diverse audience".
Figures show that, after the completion of legs one and two, a cumulative total of over 258 million people have been exposed to the Volvo Ocean Race.
Not surprisingly, Germany has been the most successful country to date; the overall race leader is the German-based illbruck Challenge. Germany has showcased the race through seven hours of news coverage, and not far short of that is the UK, France, Sweden and the USA.
Thirty-eight weekly half hour programmes are being produced throughout the duration of the race and transmitted in quality timeslots through a total of 45 broadcasters. Highlights programmes in the previous race were only broadcast through 27 outlets and mainly in offpeak segments. Additionally, 10 leg highlights programmes are also in production and are being shown all over the world.
Press coverage is also moving forward strongly. As well as features in quality titles such as Marie Claire, GQ, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic and Focus, the Volvo Ocean Race continues to be covered by many major international news papers such as L'Equipe in France (circ 497,669), Bild in Germany (circ. 1,648,853), the Goteborgs Posten in Sweden (circ 260,400) and the Daily Telegraph in Australia. In the USA, the race has been followed by the LA Times, NY Times, The Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun.
Over the two legs sailed so far, The Times in the UK (circ 721,505) has published the most on the Volvo Ocean Race with 74 stories, closely followed by the Daily Telegraph (circ 1,026,631) with 70 articles.
The Volvo Ocean Race has its own, state-of-the-art image archive and picture desk, which allows the media to select and download high resolution images shot by the world's best marine photographers, as well as by members of the racing crews. The image bank contains 2,000 images, and during the first two legs of the race, over 4,500 images were downloaded for use in the media.
The Internet has always been one of the most interesting ways of following an offshore event such as the Volvo Ocean Race and 1.5 million unique visitors checked out www.volvooceanrace.org during the first two legs of the event. This compares with a total of 1.8 million visitors over the entire duration of the previous round the world race. The America's Cup website attracted 1.9 million unique visitors, and it is forecast that www.volvooceanrace.org will soon outstrip these to become the leading sailing website ever.
Complimenting the official website, Internet coverage across other websites has resulted in over 137,000 web cuttings to date.
Along with television news, radio is also a new medium. News packages are being aired via the BBC World Service, Voice of America and CNN networks. Targeted territories such as Hong Kong, Argentina, South Africa, Spain, Scandinavia and France, amongst others, broadcast news and features. During the first two legs of the event, 515 reports were aired, varying between two and 25 minutes in length.
The race is still only a third of the way through its nine-month adventure, and throughout the remaining period, until it reaches its conclusion in Kiel, Germany on June 9th, millions of people will have the chance to become involved as it reaches out to an even wide and more diverse audience around the world.