Sir Ben Ainslie’s INEOS TEAM UK will take over Great Britain’s entry into SailGP, with the four-time Olympic gold medallist to take the helm himself.
INEOS have become presenting partner of the Great Britain SailGP Team, and INEOS TEAM UK will lend athletes to the team moving forward. The deal runs for an initial one year.
The new league, whose second season will begin in Sydney in late February, is run by billionaire Larry Ellison and Olympic gold medallist Sir Russell Coutts. Although each team’s budget is currently underwritten by Ellison, INEOS will fund its own team.
Coutts said: “We couldn’t be more pleased to have one of the most successful Olympic athletes of all time – across any sport – join our global championship. With crucial support from INEOS, Sir Ben Ainslie and the Great Britain SailGP Team will be contenders from day one and will create even more thrilling competition across our growing league.”
“The desire for INEOS and Ben Ainslie – alongside Belstaff, Grenadier and AFEX – to be part of SailGP is further testament to the commercial viability of our platform,” said Coutts of the league, which saw a total global TV audience of 256 million in its first season of operation.
INEOS TEAM UK’s family of partners – INEOS, Belstaff and Grenadier – will support the Great Britain SailGP Team, while AFEX joins the team as an additional supporting partner.
Ainslie said: “SailGP has proven itself as one of the most exciting sailing leagues, with top level competition and racing in iconic venues across the world. The cutting-edge technology, speed and athletic requirements of the championship will provide a great sporting challenge. The Great Britain SailGP Team had a fantastic first season, and we’re excited to be part of this journey as the league continues to grow.”
SailGP’s inaugural season took place in 2019, with Team Australia winning the overall prize. Great Britain - skippered by Dylan Fletcher, who will compete in the 49er class at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - finished fifth.