SailGP finalises season two calendar with New Zealand race
Christchurch will play host from 29 to 30 January 2022, and will be the penultimate race of the season, which will close in San Francisco, USA from 26 to 27 March.
SailGP had revealed in November that the season will open in Bermuda from 24 to 25 April, before the Italy Grand Prix in the southern city of Taranto on 5 and 6 June.
Plymouth, UK (17 and 18 July) and Aarhus, Denmark (20 to 21 August) had also already been confirmed as hosts, and the series announced last month that Saint-Tropez, France (11 to 12 September) and Cadiz, Spain (9 to 10 October) would be joining them.
At the time, SailGP said it was seeking nine races, but appears to have settled on eight, albeit Covid-19 could still impact the calendar.
Season two of SailGP, which featured five events, was originally scheduled for 2020 but races were suspended after the Sydney opener due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sir Russell Coutts, SailGP chief executive, said: “There’s rarely been a time in my lifelong sailing career when I’ve been as enthusiastic as I am about our upcoming season. In just over three months, we’ll have the world’s best sailors lining up in equally matched boats for what is shaping up to be some of the sport’s most competitive racing yet.”
The league’s first season secured a worldwide broadcast audience of 256 million across the five events and it is expected that number will grow significantly with the increase to eight races.
Broadcast partners for season two are already in place in more than 100 territories, including Australia (Fox Sports), Denmark (TV2), France (Canal Plus), Japan (DAZN), New Zealand (Sky), Spain (TVE), UK and Ireland (Sky) and the US (CBS).
Beyond the races, SailGP said it will leverage its global platform to champion a transition to clean energy. The league will also begin training female athletes within each of the eight sailing teams and will be using its community engagement arm, SailGP Inspire, to introduce youth from diverse backgrounds to the sport.
SailGP was launched in 2018 by Larry Ellison, founder of US technology giant Oracle, and America’s Cup veteran Coutts. It has a winner-takes-all $1 million prize.