The 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will take place in 2014-15 after Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Group today reaffirmed their long-term commitment to the world's premier offshore sailing event.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad announced the broad timetable just as the fleet prepared for the opening in-port race in the 2011-12 edition, starting in Alicante, Spain.
Flanked by Volvo Car Corporation CEO Stefan Jacoby and Volvo Group CEO Olof Persson, Frostad said the next race would begin in the autumn of 2014 in Alicante, where the race has been based since 2010.
"Volvo Cars and Volvo Group have pledged their long-term support for the event," said Frostad, a four-time veteran of the race and CEO since 2008. "They trust us and we trust them.
"At a time when many sports events are struggling to survive in one of the toughest economic climates in living memory, the future of the Volvo Ocean Race is looking very healthy.
"A large part of the secret of our success is that the event is owned by Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Group and forms a central part in both companies' marketing strategy."
Persson said the race showcased important values for the two companies.
"There are many reasons for being the owner of the Volvo Ocean Race," Persson said. "The adventure, technology, teamwork and the constant pursuit of perfection - it all reflects the work we do within Volvo Group and Volvo Car Corporation.
"Equally important is the opportunity to meet customers at the different stopovers. Here we have the time to really sit down and discuss their business and future needs."
Volvo Car Corporation President and CEO Jacoby said: "Volvo Ocean Race is an important tool in our marketing strategy, aiming to build our brand attraction and consideration to buy.
"The global reach of the Volvo Ocean Race makes it a fantastic commercial platform to build close customer relations. The race gives us extremely good return on investment in terms of media exposure, increased brand awareness and incremental sales."
Six teams are contesting the 2011-12 race, which is widely expected to be the closest in its 38-year history.
Frostad's announcement came after the Volvo Ocean Race revealed that a record 66 broadcasters around the world have so far signed up to follow the 11th edition, reaching 550 million households.
"Right now, I'm concentrating on 2011-12 which I believe will be the most thrilling we've ever had," Frostad said. "I'm just excited that this race just keeps getting better and better in every aspect. We intend to bring the drama of a race which stretches its competitors to breaking point day in, day out to a far bigger audience than ever before. We believe we will win new converts to this great sport of ours with our coverage."
The first offshore leg of the 2011-12 race begins on November 5, when the fleet sets off for Cape Town in South Africa. The six teams will visit Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Miami (United States), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France) before finishing in Galway (Ireland) in July 2012.
The six teams contesting the race are: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Groupama sailing team, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, Team Sanya and Team Telefónica.