As you may already know, the TV audience for boat racing is huge on the global market. However, it is not structured to make money like NASCAR or Formula One. Cup Royale was created to structure and capture a portion of that very large global boat racing market.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers the Volvo Ocean Race had a 1.7 billion cumulative global TV audience in 2014 and 2.2 billion in 2017, with 457 million direct viewers. That is not individual viewers it is cumulative. It is still huge, much bigger than NASCAR. For comparison sake, if you combined all 92 NASCAR races, not just the stock car races, but all of the races including the Sprint Series and the Truck Series, too, the Volvo Ocean Race is still much bigger because it is global. NASCAR’s combined total TV audience is about 300 million. NASCAR is worth $5 billion and sells its TV and media rights for $800 million a year.
The Volvo Ocean Race is a nine month sail boat race around the world that takes place every three years. It stops in eleven ports while racing around the world. Two million four hundred thousand people come out in person to the race villages to watch the local races with an average of more than 200,000 per location. That is more than twice the attendance at our football games. Americans like speed. If they made it power boats, instead of sail boats and raced around the world every year instead of every three years it would be even more popular. If they had territorial rivalries such as city against city like we have with the NFL or country against country like the Olympics it would make it even more popular.
Cup Royale is such a race around the world. Instead of city against city, it is country against country. The Cup Royale is the first ever, first annual powerboat race around the world, structured similar to a combination of the Volvo Ocean Race and Formula One Racing.
Nonstop racing around the world would be dangerous and boring. It would not make good live TV. That is why the Cup Royale is broken down into 30 smaller races, 15 ocean races and 15 harbor races. It is a four and a half month race with only one team per country. It is being structured to create a massive international TV audience. When you watch an NFL game you get both a pre-game show and the actual game. In the pre-game show they recount the last week’s events and then they have the game. Our pre-race show is about the ocean races and the live show is the harbor races.
How the Cup Royale came about.
Ralph Brown and his two boys were out boating with a friend, Larry, and his boys. They hit a rock and broke the motor. About that same time, Ralph’s wife was in a car accident and was disabled. Ralph’s employer, Benco Insurance Planners, Blue Cross Blue Shield moved Ralph’s territory to Orlando, a two hour drive away. Rather than take a hotel room, Ralph drove home every night so that he could see his kids grow up. It was during those four hours in a car every day that Ralph dreamed about designing a boat that would be able to go over the top of those rocks and still remain seaworthy on the high seas. Ralph has a strong background in math and science.
Over a period of time, Ralph became consumed with this idea. After family members started complaining to Anne; that you cannot talk to Ralph about anything else, Ralph’s wife Anne threw down the challenge, ‘Either do it or shut up’. She thought Ralph was going to shut up. He was an insurance, tax, and financial planner, not a boat builder.
The big deal was to develop a boat that could run in both super shallow water and to remain seaworthy on the high seas. Generally boats that are safe in a storm cannot operate in shallow water and boats that can run in shallow water tip over and sink in big waves. Ralph Brown and Marin Savov developed a boat that does both quite well. It set world records actually crossing the ocean in a boat that could run in three inches of water.
It was while testing for the smaller boats that Ralph Brown and Marin Savov ran across an idea that would save fuel in larger faster boats. They tested the idea on a Dream Surfer 230. It worked great. The Dream Surfer 230 was not a stream lined boat to begin with so speed improvement was not difficult. So then they built an extremely stream lined test boat using standard technology. Weighed it and tested it. Then they modified it to the newer hull technology. Weighed it and tested it multiple times. It worked better than they dreamed.
He planned to demonstrate the hull design by being the first power boat to beat the sail boat records for going around the world. The sail boat record for circumnavigation is 41 days while the power boat record is 61 days. Many are surprised to discover that sail boats are much faster at circumnavigation. It is all about the fuel economy, the weight of the fuel and having to stop and get more. However, they had learned that the money is not in the boat building. It is in the entertainment and media rights. It was from that idea that the idea for the race around the world developed. The Cup Royale was born.