Cowes Week faces sponsorship crisis

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The latest victim of the current squeeze on sponsorship budgets is the 180-year old Cowes Week, one of the best known sailing regattas in the world.

There will be no title sponsor this year said CEO Stuart Quarrie, though adding that talks were continuing with potential backers.

The search for a replacement for the Skandia investment and insurance company, which had backed the event for 14 years, has been going on for over two years.

It is believed that Skandia was spending about £1.5m a year to include both event sponsorship and all the associated marketing and hospitality costs.

Nearly 1,000 boats both large and small, crewed by about 8,500 competitors old and young, take part in the eight days of racing in the Solent and Quarrie, who in the so recent boom years was even thinking about expanding the week into a fortnight, remains optimistic about finding a sponsor. “Despite the tough sports marketing climate at the moment,” he said, “we are in proactive discussions with a number of prospective headline sponsors. Our approach is very flexible, which is imperative given current market conditions.”