Bringing the Tall Ships Race to Sunderland could be worth more than £30million to businesses across Sunderland and the North East, says the city councils man in charge.
And city businesses can get involved to support the event with a range of sponsorship options to suit all budgets now available.
City Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture Coun John Kelly, was joined by representatives of businesses who have already signed up - including Northumbrian Water Ltd, Gentoo, The Bridges, Station Taxis and Port of Sunderland - for a visit of the STS Lord Nelson, one of the ships which will be taking part in next year’s event.
“Today saw the launch of the many ways local businesses can be involved in supporting The Tall Ships Races 2018 in Sunderland,” said Coun Kelly.
“From sponsoring a sail trainee or hosting a corporate event on the deck of one of these magnificent ships to headline sponsor opportunities, there is something for businesses of all sizes.
“It is fantastic to see so many businesses signed up to support the event before sponsorship packages have even been officially launched and I hope the business community will join with them to help make this a truly spectacular event.
The council won’t make that money - that’s the important thing. That will go to businesses - hotels, taxis, bars, everybody.Coun John Kelly
“The Tall Ships event in Blyth was worth between £12million and £16million, just for a weekend regatta,” said Coun Kelly.
“We would be looking in the region of between £25million and £32million for the for the four-day event - but we will also be holding events both before and after the actual race, so there will be plenty of opportunities for business to take part.
“It is going to be a fantastic event for everybody.
“The council won’t make that money - that’s the important thing. That will go to businesses - hotels, taxis, bars, everybody.
“When crews come here, they like to get out and explore, so there will be hundreds of people out and about. Then we have all the visitors who will be coming into the city.”
A fleet of 80 vessels is expected to arrive into Port of Sunderland for the event, which runs from Wednesday 11 until Saturday July 14, 2018. They will stay for a four-day festival before taking part in a spectacular parade of sail at the start of the first race of the series to Esbjerg.
Station Taxis boss Trevor Hines said the firm was proud to be supporting the event.
“It is going to be great - the Tall Ships Race is a great opportunity to showcase the city,” he said.
“And I this is a tremendous chance for local businesses to be involved in what is happening, from being involved in the cisit to actually sponsoring someone to go to sea.
“Station Taxis is very much a Sunderland business and we are very pleased to be involved in promoting this event.”
For more information on sponsorship packages for the Tall Ships Race, Sunderland International Airshow, and Sunderland Illuminations, e-mail email@example.com
The visit of the STS Lord Nelson was the start of four nerve-wracking days at sea for Ellie Lyall and Kieran Boyce.
The pair are taking part in Sunderland’s Sail Training Ambassador programme, which gives nominated representatives from schools, colleges and community organisations across the city and region the chance to undergo sail training in the build up to the race.
Kieran’s entire experience at sea consists of sailing from Hartlepool to Sunderland last year for the Princess Royal’s visit to launch the Ambassador programme.
“We’re at sea for four days and three nights - I’m a bit scared, to be honest,” said the Houghton 18-year-old.
The big challenge for Kieran will be taking to the Lord Nelson’s rigging.
“I hate heights,” he admitted.
“I climbed up to the first platform last time and my legs were shaking.”
Sunderland University student Ellie, 20, has even less time at sea under her belt experience than Kieran.
“I spent an afternoon in a dinghy once and that’s about all the experience I have,” she said.
“I’m just looking forward to knowing what I am doing and what I am talking about as an ambassador.
“I think this is a massive opportunity for Sunderland - we have a beautiful coastline and the more publicity it gets, the bigger the turn-out will be.”