The UAE is set to host a power boat series in November, which will become part of what is being dubbed ‘the Grand Prix of the Sea’, the British promoters behind the event said on Tuesday.
London-based promoter Powerboat P1 Management have signed up a UAE financier to invest over US$2m to host the power boat racing series, which will see a minimum of ten boats compete for the national title.
“We already have a series in the US that ran last year and one in the UK and we are launching in the UAE and we are looking to launch a series in India in February 2013 and in China in 2013,” James Durbin, commercial director of Powerboat P1 Management told Arabian Business.
The firm said it was also in negotiations with other Middle East states as part of its aim to establish at least 12 national series around the world, which will culminate in a world series in 2015.
“We are in discussions with Qatar; we have had conversations in Saudi Arabia and we have had conversations in Egypt as well. So within the region we are in quite good discussions,” Durbin said.
“What we are working towards is you win your national series and are crowned the national champion and then in 2015, when we have 12 to 15 national championships, we will take the winners of all those national championships and will host the first credible world series of power boat world championships,” he added.
The basic amount needed to host a series is €1.5m (US$1.9m), Durkin said. As part of a franchise-style deal, backers get ownership of ten boats, which they can sponsor out or sell to teams. Additional revenue can be generated by host countries through spin-off advertising, sponsorship and TV and media opportunities.
While Durbin would not reveal the identity of the local UAE financier they have struck a deal with, he confirmed the UAE event was scheduled for November and will include stop offs in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah.
“The UAE will launch in November and we will establish a training school which will commence in April or May time and then additional race training in September and October and then the first race in November,” he said.
“This is a very significant announcement for Powerboat P1 and for the Middle East region as a whole. For the first time we have an investor from the UAE with the conviction to support our vision as it makes sound commercial sense,” said Powerboat P1 Chairman, Asif Rangoonwala, who announced the deal at the Dubai International Boat Show, currently taking place in the emirate.
Powerboat P1 has secured Dubai-based Onside Sports to find commercial partners for the series. While other power boat competitions exist, Durkin said this was unique as “the boats are all identical engines, so what it comes down to is the skill of the pilot, as opposed to who has the biggest jet.”