America's Cup auction on ebay

'Buy it now' US America's Cup challenge for $45 million

Tuesday March 2nd 2004, Author: John Sweeney, Location: United States
The Sausalito Challenge for the America’s Cup in Valencia 2007 today announced it’s plans to make its exclusive sponsorship available for bidding on eBay Motors April 2-9,
2004. eBay Motors is a specialty site on eBay.com where people buy and sell boats, cars, motorcycles, other vehicles, and parts & accessories for these items. eBay Motors is visited by nearly 10 million people every month.

Syndicate co-chairpersons and investor/visionaries Tina Kleinjan and John Sweeney lead the 'Sausalito Challenge' team. Armed with their past America’s Cup and Marketing expertise, Tina and John will lead a dynamic team of the world’s best America’s Cup sailors, designers and managers.

The Exclusive Sponsorship is a comprehensive marketing package offered by the Sausalito Challenge team, which will provide brand exposure not only in Europe but also in the U.S., starting in June 2004. The minimum bid will be $30 million USD with a Buy it Now price of $45 million USD. The sponsorship will be listed in the “Boats & Watercraft” category on eBay Motors where currently more than 1,000 boats are available for sale. Details and terms and conditions applicable to the package will be included in the eBay listing and made available as of March 1, 2004 to qualifying prospects.

“Our team was designed specifically from the sponsor’s point of view,” said co-founder Tina Kleinjan, a former advertising executive who also owned her own billboard/ad agency. The core team assembled will have a very strong chance of winning the America’s Cup; however, the overall strategy is to create a global image for one company for a fraction of the cost of the usual America’s Cup Team.

Kleinjan and Sweeney believe that the sponsorship funds will help to propel The Sausalito Challenge and its sponsors brand to the Louis Vuitton finals while also placing the sponsor’s brand among companies who have paid two or three times as much to achieve the same objective.

In addition, the team will be amongst the first to be sailing in events as early as June 2004 in San Francisco. Other teams are not expected to begin participating for another two years.

Co-Founder John Sweeney who previously raced for Larry Ellison’s Oracle/BMW racing, feels that his strong and creative group of sailors and designers will lead the way for other teams. “I have seen it all before,” says Sweeney. “The huge bankroll, sponsors paying a fortune with only a small return on their investment…that needs to change. We
have the background and the vision to make it happen.” The team plans to build one new yacht and give a group of very smart individuals a chance to perform as a team. The budget is lean, but so is the team.

eBay was the natural choice since they have worldwide reach and a very global image. “The bidding will be eagerly watched by the sailing world and Madison Avenue,” says Sweeney. “This is the fastest way to reach CEOs and decision makers worldwide. The fact that eBay brings together buyers and sellers in an open environment to trade goods at the market price has been the basis of countless trades for everything from collectible antiques to autos. However, to the best of our knowledge, this is one of the first times that the eBay model is being applied to a major sports sponsorship package. We could spend months trying to reach potential sponsors, but on eBay, everyone can instantly see what we have to offer.”

“We just think differently”, states Ms. Kleinjan. “Our team philosophy is to look at the entire America’s Cup from a different perspective. From marketing to sailing we will be the team to watch from day one. Good luck and may an equally unique company or individual win the bidding!”

Auction Package Preview can be viewed on www.challenge-series.com Auction Dates April 2-9 on eBay Motors (keyword: sailboats)

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