Category: SailGPMarine

Plymouth’s hosting of the epic Great Britain Sail Grand Prix helped put £6.9 million ($9.5 million) into the cash tills and bank accounts of city businesses – providing a much-needed post-lockdown boost.

A report by Deloitte into the economic impact of the spectacular global event – that took place on 17-18 July – has spelt out the direct financial benefits to the city, with a gross expenditure of £8.9 million attributable to the event, including amount spent by spectators, event organisers and the teams.

Council Leader Nick Kelly said: “A huge amount of effort went into securing and delivering the event. The weather was incredibly kind to us and allowed the city to showcase its fabulous waterfront.

“I am determined to make Plymouth known for events such as SailGP and this administration will do everything we can to promote the Hoe to a world audience. We are in detailed negotiations with SailGP about hosting the event here again next year and I will update on this as soon as I can.”

Another key benefit highlighted in the report was the number of visitors from outside Plymouth and from areas such as the South East and London. While a large percentage of spectators came from the wider South West, 35 per cent were from the South East and London.

Of the non-locals, 89 per cent of those interviewed stated they would recommend Plymouth as a holiday destination and 80 per cent were more likely to come back again to Britain’s Ocean City as a result of attending.

Councillor Kelly added: “You did not need to know much about sailing to enjoy the thrill of these high-speed races and I am delighted that so many of our visitors had a brilliant experience here in Plymouth and are likely to come back again.

“Hosting SailGP has always been about more than the event. It’s been about showcasing Britain’s Ocean City to the world and it’s a perfect fit for our National Marine Park.”

Other SailGP statistics:

  • An estimated 27,500 spectators – both ticketed and non-ticketed enjoyed the spectacle
  • 6,270 people watched from the ticketed Waterfront Viewing area on Plymouth Hoe
  • More than 1,000 boats signed up to the ‘Bring your own Boat’ programme, to view from the water
  • Visitors came from 10 countries with COVID restrictions clearly having an impact on travel
  • Spectator satisfaction was sky high: 97 per cent were positive about the overall experience and thought that hosting SailGP was a good thing for Plymouth
  • Global media coverage of the event was seen across 175 territories with a dedicated TV audience of 2.6 million
  • 1,800 online press articles and 297 TV news segments featured the event in Plymouth

The report also highlights that had it not been for Covid limiting international visitor numbers and travel Deloitte conservatively estimate this economic benefit to Plymouth would have been closer to £10 million.

Getting the tills ringing was not the only benefit for the city. SailGP and Plymouth City Council worked closely together to organise a host of events to get the public involved and engaged with the ocean.

It included outdoor STEM sessions for schoolchildren in Plymouth’s famous Tinside Lido, free sailing experiences for young people and people with disabilities, and an ‘adopt-a-club’ scheme where each of the eight teams paired with a local Plymouth sailing club or organisation. In total;

  • 400 local children engaged in STEM activities
  • 120 young people provided with sailing experiences on the water as part of the Inspire programme
  • A legacy programme created in conjunction with SailGP Inspire and Plymouth City Council, operating out of Mount Batten Watersports & Activities Centre alongside Horizons Plymouth Children’s Sailing Charity and Plymouth Youth Sailing will enable a further 480 experiences to young people from Plymouth, including RYA Sailing courses and access to club memberships to attract a new wave of sailors to the sport
  • 150 volunteers – made up of Mayflower Makers, Plymouth Argyle and Plymouth City Council staff – on hand to help visitors and remind people about Covid-19 safety precautions.
  • Strict Covid-19 risk assessments were undertaken and despite large numbers attending the event plans put in place were effective, with no direct rise in Covid-19 cases seen as a result of hosting this spectacular event in Plymouth.


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