Geelong Week now Victoria Week
A new era for Victoria’s oldest major sporting event as Audi takes over from Skandia.
It is the largest regatta in the southern hemisphere — older than the Melbourne Cup — and it has a brand new name. We’re talking of Victoria Week, the new title for the State’s premier gathering of keelboats that focus around every Australia Day Weekend and formerly known as Geelong Week.
Following the sale earlier this year of Swedish insurance company Skandia, it’s new owners decided to close down operations in Australia, and with it went the company’s long-term title sponsorship of Geelong Week. However, regatta organisers recently formed a partnership with German luxury carmaker Audi to take over the position vacated by Skandia, and launched Victoria’s oldest sporting event into a new era.
"We have seen a few changes over time, but we regard this as the most significant, and the most exciting, in the 165-year history. The annual sailing extravaganza will now be promoted as Audi Victoria Week," a delighted Royal Geelong Yacht Club Commodore Graeme Ritchie said.
"Audi is a premium brand and a major partner in Australian sailing. This is a vote of confidence in the future of our sport. It will enhance global creditability and add momentum to what is already a burgeoning event," he said.
Audi Australia’s managing director, Joerg Hofmann, said the company is committed to remaining the largest corporate sponsor of sailing in Australia.
"We are proud to be the title sponsor of Audi Victoria Week. This event is a major addition to our annual sailing-sport calendar and clearly shows our support of the sport. Victoria is an important market for Audi and we are keen to invest in the community," Hofmann said.
"Audi is the only premium brand in Australia with positive sales growth of 12 per cent in a market which is down around 10 per cent, and our sponsorship of this prestigious event allows our company to give back to the community that supports our growth," he said.
Adding further momentum, Victorian Premier John Brumby announced a new three-year partnership with the Victorian Government. "These developments will ensure that Audi Victoria Week continues to be at the forefront of keelboat racing in Australia," said Brumby.
There have only been five name changes spread across three centuries. "Victoria Week best describes where the event is now at in terms of development. Audi Victoria Week is staged in both Melbourne and Geelong and the event showcases how the waterfront cities are linked by Port Phillip (Bay),"
commodore Ritchie continued.
Audi Victoria Week is expected to attract more than 500 competing yachts over six days from January 21 to 26, 2010.
Racing begins in Melbourne with the Docklands Invitational and the sailing version of 20/20 cricket — King of the Docklands. Fleets then combine for the annual Melbourne to Geelong race and the program continues in Geelong through to Australia Day on January 26.
For more information, visit www.victoriaweek.com
Photo: (L-R) RGYC commodore Graeme Ritchie, corporate sales manager Audi Australia Andrew Kerr, Audi Victoria Week chairman Andrew Neilson, Victorian Premier John Brumby, and regional sales manager Audi Australia Werner Viljoen at Royal Geelong Yacht Club. (photo: Teri Dodds).
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