New sponsor for Cowes Week - the detail


From left to right:Stuart Quarrie, Cowes Week's John Grandy and Aberdeen Asset Management CEO, Martin Gilbert
Photo: CWL/ Richard Budd
From left to right:Stuart Quarrie, Cowes Week's John Grandy and Aberdeen Asset Management CEO, Martin Gilbert
Cowes Week CEO Stuart Quarrie and Aberdeen Asset Management CEO Martin Gilbert on the new deal
On Friday came the welcome news that after two years without a title sponsor, Cowes Week is to be backed by another company in the ‘money’ business, Aberdeen Asset Management, in what is at present a three year deal starting this year. While there were rumours circulating that the sailing world’s original race week couldn’t survive another year without a major corporate backer, this was refuted by Cowes Week CEO Stuart Quarrie. “We had a balanced budget last year and we could have done that again, but it was tough. It meant we had to look at every bit of budget and developing the event in any way was hard.” Over the last two years, Quarrie says, Cowes Week has floated on a mixture of entry fees, other supporting sponsors and other commercial income. For sure the economic downturn has had its effect on competitor numbers – down by 10-11% from 2007-8, with 896 boats taking part in both 2009 and 2010. “Previously it was about 1000,” says Quarrie. “Our top year was in 2001 for the America’s Cup 150th Jubilee, when there were 1040. We are pleased with how entries have held up as looking at events around the world, numbers have collapsed.” Neither party is revealing how much the sponsorship is worth but it is believed to be less than Skandia were putting in. “This is a really good day for the event and enables us to take Cowes Week into the next stage of development,” says Quarrie. “This isn’t a gravy train, but it means we can look at the event in a positive, look-forward way.” Exactly how having a new title sponsor will effect Cowes Week 2011 compared to the last two years remains to be seen. Stuart Quarrie is keeping his powder dry for the time being. “We have

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