Wednesday, 20 June 2012

"Laser" Chance for Oman

Probably there is no media consumer in Oman who has not heard of Oman Sail before.  And if there is any left, than beware as Oman Sail will be organizing the Laser World Championships between November 2013 and January 2014. For those not into boats, the Laser is a very popular small sailing boat (dinghy) usually sailed by one or rarely by two.

As mentioned earlier, sport events are probably most practical means for promoting a country like Oman, that lends itself to so many outdoor sport activities. Besides the benefit of promotion, the other great ripple effect is making sports popular among Omanis, a job where Oman Sail most likely has done quite well since inception.
Is not an easy call though, as organizing such events is always costly and poses several challenges to host organizations, authorities and local creative minds alike.  The great thing about this event is that is a relatively long one, so it creates several opportunities for promotion and incorporating local events between races. Here are few ideas on how to improve the impact of the event domestically and internationally:
  • Fun for kids:  kids are the main draw card for many families. Since sailing is not always the most action packed sports from a spectator on the shore, killing the time with interesting, sailing related attractions will attracts more spectators (small sailing pond, sailing themed playground etc. etc.)
  • Free sailing lessons for the period of the event: it is just much easier to relate and appreciate to sports if you ever tried it. At the end of the day making sailing popular is a large numbers game. The more have the chance to try, the more will fall in love with it
  • Get people closer to action: using CCTV with camera close to action and projectors on the shore, as well as perhaps floating stands using mid-size cruise ships, or cargo ships installed with small stands
  • Unique merchandising: good quality (!) clothing, toys, and sailing gear is essential to create a lasting image
  • Synergistic events: include sailing boat exhibition or similar to enhance attraction for the same period
  • Attempt for a world record: (most sails on water sailing together per sqm km, or Laser with most people on board etc.)
  • Get international celebrities on board: the effort of tracking down a few big names who are into sailing,  and convincing them to be there might pay off if smartly planned
  • Not just Laser: a concept that does not only focuses on Laser, but it comes across as an international fiesta of sailing sports attracting sailing enthusiasts from the region
…and many more…