Sep 15, 2009 at 04:18 PM
written by

Sailing for Green

Not that green!

The Sunday Times reported that America's Cup contender Teamorigin, run by entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills, will give prime sponsor inventory to Carbon Trust, a non-profit aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

"Together they are launching a new environmental campaign named The Race for Change — a platform to attract other corporate sponsors," the story states.

“The America’s Cup is a perfect vehicle to carry the message of climate change,” said Mills. “In the current downturn, big companies are looking to get a lot more from the events and the sports teams they choose to sponsor. It doesn’t cut it any more if you just ask for money."

In February, a Performance Research survey revealed that 41% of Americans said companies should increase their spending on cause marketing, compared with 13% who said they should increase spending on sports sponsorships

Mills annual burn rate on the team is approximately £15m running costs - from his own pocket - but, he believes the team’s new focus on green has the potential to attract four corporate sponsors, which could total £75m.

Europeans have been very progressive about tying cause and sports sponsorships. Take for example, Barcelona FC's 2006 pro-bono shirt sponsorship with UNICEF.

“A lot of companies are spending a lot of money on environmental projects. We are building a whole package through this deal with the Carbon Trust that will allow us to harness the power of sport with the environmental debate and help us all work towards lowering our carbon footprint,” Mills said. take on the deal:

It was only a matterof time before a savvy yacht racing team made the most of the glaring environmental advantage that sailing has over things like motorsport... hopefully, the deal will open the eyes of some of the large energy companies with interests in alternative energy, particularly wind, to the benefits offered by sailing."

Can properties grow a bigger sponsorship pie by giving a bigger slice of their platform to non-profit partners?