The latest edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, which started in Alicante, Spain in October 2017 and finished in The Hague in the Netherlands in June 2018, will be remembered as the closest in race history, as well as a record-breaking event on many levels.
After racing 45,000 nautical miles around the world, three teams embarked on the final sprint leg to The Hague with an opportunity to claim the title. And it wasn’t until the final moments that skipper Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team emerged as the leader ahead of Team MAPFRE and Team Brunel to grab the top step on the podium.
There had never been a race like it over the 45-year life of the race. At the conclusion of 126 days of racing, the winning margin was just 16 minutes.
But apart from the action the water, the 2017-18 edition of the race was setting records elsewhere as well. More than 2.5 million fans attended the race stopovers, putting the Volvo Ocean Race in the top tier of international sporting events, while new marks were set across all aspects of fan engagement and media coverage.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 in numbers:
(with direct comparison to 2014-15 race numbers, wherever possible)
- 23 female sailors in the race – the most ever – including three who sailed with the Dongfeng Race Team and became the first women to win the race
- 2.5 million people visited the 12 Race Villages (+4% over previous race)
- 94,200 corporate guests (+26%) attended functions during the race period including over 6,500 participants in the Guest On Board programme
- Over 3,300 hours of television broadcasting generated €429-million in publicity value (+46%)
- There was a cumulative TV news audience of 2.2 billion (+45%)
- 194 hours of live coverage was produced
- 1.9 billion social media impressions, including 200 million video views
- 13.7 million social media likes
- Over 400,000 comments on Instagram posts
- Over 1 million comments on race content on Twitter and 9 million retweets
- The average viewing time per video on YouTube was over 9 minutes
- The average Facebook post reached 398,000 users
- The most popular social media video was viewed over 23-million times
- Social media publicity value was €71-million
- 71,000 online articles (+10%) and 7,500 (+4%) print stories generated €95-million in publicity value
- www.volvooceanrace.com hosted 174 million page views (+72%) with visitors spending an average of over 4:20 (+149%) on the site
- The official app was downloaded over 537,000 times (+38%)
- The official race tracker hosted 111 million unique sessions (+186%)
- The digital TV (OTT) audience was 342 million, generating €67.8-million in publicity value
- Over 4,300 media accredited to cover the race (+4%)
- From its base in Lisbon, Portugal, The Boatyard provided a 15-week, 6,000+ man-hour refit to each of the seven one-design VO65 race boats ahead of the start, preparing the fleet for the closest race in history
- Hosting the race start in Alicante contributed €96-million to the Spanish economy and generated 1,696 full-time equivalent jobs
** Media number analysis by SMG