To date the other entries are from Ericsson Racing Team and the Mean Machine syndicate backed by Dutch businessman Peter DE RIDDER. More announcements will follow in the next few months.
'We are thrilled to announce PUMA's entry into the Volvo Ocean Race - one of the world's iconic sporting events,' said Jochen ZEITZ, Chairman and CEO, PUMA AG. 'The race's global reach, lifestyle appeal and true sporting characteristics match the PUMA brand perfectly and provide PUMA with exciting new opportunities to make a strong mark in the world of sailing, on and off the water. This continues our strategy to expand into new product categories and explore the potential of the brand.'
PUMA will also be the official supplier and official licensee of replica merchandise for the race which starts in Alicante, Spain in October 2008.
Commenting on the announcement, Glenn BOURKE, the Volvo Ocean Race CEO, said, 'I am delighted for the Volvo Ocean Race that a company with such global gravitas as PUMA has decided to come on board.
'What I am most pleased about is that a big consumer brand sees the race as a viable mechanism for promoting its brand and showcasing its products.
'This race is hugely demanding psychologically, physically and emotionally on everybody involved in it and we are confident that our new partner PUMA has what it takes to support the sailors with high quality and innovative lifestyle products.'
READ, considered one of the world's most accomplished sailors, has twice been involved in America's Cup campaigns in 2000 and 2003. He was named United States Rolex Yachtsman of the Year twice and has over 40 World, North American and national Championships to his credit. READ joined Ericsson Racing Team for the last four legs of the 2005-06 race.
Dream Come True
'Running and skippering a Volvo Ocean Race programme is a dream come true,' READ said. 'I'm very proud to be part of the PUMA Racing Team and to take the lead in this new and exciting venture. 'I believe PUMA is the type of company that the sailing world needs, which can think outside the box and deliver this sport to an entirely new group of consumers. It's going to be an incredible journey for all of us.'
On PUMA's decision to enlist the services of READ, BOURKE added, 'PUMA has chosen wisely in asking Ken READ to head up the campaign. He is one of the finest sailors in the world. He has won multiple one-design sailing events - the toughest cauldron of all.
'He is an incredibly good spokesperson for the sport. He's a sensible guy, he's been involved in sailing for a long time, he's seen it from the grass-roots up and he is one of those special guys who can get the race out to a broader cross section of people and he also gets the big picture. He's very committed to the sports side, but not at the expense of the business side.'
The 2008-09 event will be the 10th running of this iconic ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, it will for the first time, take in ports in the Middle East and Asia. Spanning some 39,000 nautical miles, stopping at around 11 ports and taking nine months to complete, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world's premier yacht race for professional racing crews.The Volvo Ocean Race is an ISAF Special Event. For more information on the Volvo Ocean Race, the Volvo Open 70 and the teams competing, visit the official Volvo Ocean Race website - www.volvooceanrace.org.
For a complete list of all the news about the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 CLICK HERE.