The following is a round-up report on worldwide media coverage of Around Alone 1998-99, a solo, round-the-world sailboat race beginning and ending in Charleston, South Carolina. The race began on 26 September 1998, and finished in May 1999. This report includes media coverage received from January 1998, when race officials held a major news conference at the London Boat Show to announce details about the race, through June 1999 after the final prizegiving event in Charleston, South Carolina.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
In addition to the tracking efforts of the race's global media staff and its pr and marketing agency, DDB, several organizations collected clippings of the print, audio and video coverage, as well as Internet statistics on the event. Those organizations included the host port of Charleston, South Carolina; each of the other three stopover ports; COMSAT Mobile Communications, the race's satellite communications sponsor; and many individual boat sponsors. This worldwide effort resulted in the tabulation of :
- Over 6000 newspaper and magazine articles and photos published in 30+ countries.
- 600-plus hours of television and radio news coverage and programming in 100 countries.
- More than 350 million hits to the official Web site. As many as 800,000 individual visits in a day.
Print coverage of Around Alone regularly appeared in the most-read newspapers and magazines in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.
Race officials tracked 6195 individual articles and photos about the race in 35 countries.
Key newspapers and wire services that published reports, often daily, during key periods of the race included: The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Miami Herald, Charleston Post and Courier, Providence Journal, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, London Daily Telegraph, Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse.
Major feature articles appeared in Time, Sports Illustrated, BusinessWeek, People, Men's Journal, Women Outside, Reader's Digest and dozens of consumer and sailing magazines throughout the United States, Europe and beyond.
TELEVISION AND RADIO COVERAGE
The television and radio coverage of Around Alone 1998-99 far exceeded that from the last race in 1994-95. Stations from dozens of countries received the race's daily news and used that information for on-air updates on the fleet's progress. Race officials and various competitors are regular guests on radio programs around the world.
Television represented 80 percent of the 645 hours of broadcast coverage tracked by race officials. Over 100 countries were serviced by the race's satellite television packages and national radio networks in over 50 countries made up the balance.
Key broadcast news coverage has come from CNN, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, Dateline NBC, Sky News (Europe), BBC (England) and SABC (South Africa), each of which covered the race on multiple occasions. National Public Radio (NPR)'s program All Things Considered regularly followed the race, often having guest appearances by competitors and race officials. Networks from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan sent crews to various ports to cover the race. In addition, all four major French networks and three Italian networks covered the start and finish of each leg of the race live by satellite.
Numerous race "specials" appeared on national television, including four half-hour programs on ESPN and one on Knowledge TV. Programs are currently in pre-production and/or production for NOVA and the Discovery Channel.
Around Alone's official Web site, www.aroundalone.com, produced by Quokka Sports, generated more than 350 million hits and 1 million unique visitors during the course of the race. Each Leg of the race saw a significant increase in site traffic, with a 31 percent increase in viewership from Leg 2 to Leg 3 during the successful Soldini-Autissier rescue. An average of 150,000 people visited the site each day with that number Page Three Media Statistics reaching as high as 800,000 during certain incidents. Approximately 18 million page views were tracked from visitors in over 50 countries.
In addition to the official coverage on the race's site, hundreds of Web sites around the world reported on the race's progress daily, including the CompuServe Sailing Forum, Torrensen Marine's Around the World of Sailing, SailNet, Cruising World Online, and more. Also, dozens of major newspapers, magazines, and TV and radio stations dedicated a portion of their Web site to Around Alone.
OTHER MEDIA SOURCES OF NOTE
"Into The Wind. The story of the longest race on earth." was published by the Charleston Post & Courier newspaper and placed in national distribution by the time of the final prizegiving event in May. Four other books are known to be in the works. Competitors Viktor Yazykov, Neal Petersen and Mike Garside are authoring their own stories of the race. Another book is being written about the sailing exploits of Italy's best known sailor since Christopher Columbus, Around Alone winner Giovanni Soldini.
"Born To The Wind", a television documentary has been produced about the race for the national Public Broadcasting System in the US and for distribution in other markets around the world. It will reach the American airwaves for the first time nationally on 23 June 2000 and will be available in home video at that time as well.
In total, Around Alone 1998-99 generated over 4.5 billion gross impressions through television programs, radio broadcasts, magazine and newspaper articles and other sources. We measured the news coverage in terms of circulation for print outlets and number of households for broadcast outlets. Internet numbers are not included in this total because "impressions" on the website are difficult to correlate.
The number of stories grew approximately 25% in relation to the 1994-95 media coverage. The website added a completely new dimension because the Internet growth was so dramatic since the last race.
More importantly, impressions grew 300% due the increase in television and major media coverage around the world. Around Alone has indeed reached global status in terms of major international sporting events. And the race has achieved that status without the stigma of being highly "commercial" which places it in a class of its own