Derry showcased to millions by clipper

Derry enjoyed “exceptional” global media exposure in the Clipper Round the World yacht race, a new report has found.

An independent evaluation of media coverage of the 2011-12 race has revealed that the Derry~Londonderry yacht featured in 2,091 news items. The report states that the news and media reached a cumulative audience of 285 million people with an estimated ‘public relations value’ of £8m. It further states that an audience of 630 million viewers will see the Derry entry on the ‘Against the Tide’ documentary to be aired on the Discovery Channel, representing an estimated PR value of £34.5m.

More than 200 countries accessed race coverage with Derry-Londonderry achieving its highest audiences from Europe, United States, Australia, China, Singapore and South Africa. Coverage also highlighted Derry-Londonderry for business, digital media and tourism, especially UK City of Culture 2013.

International promotional activity and an outstanding ‘Clipper Homecoming Festival’ generated the huge media exposure for the city.

“We’ve seen a healthy growth in media coverage as global interest in the Clipper Race goes from strength to strength,” observes Jonathan Levy, Director of Business Development at race organisers Clipper Ventures. “Derry-Londonderry generated good coverage, especially with creative promotional events and a few surprise VIP visitors. The wonderful homecoming celebrations at the beginning of July added a further boost. In addition to news coverage the TV documentary series reaches a cumulative audience in excess of half a billion people around the world.”

He said the return on investment for Derry was “very significant”. “I’m not sure of the exact investment but I believe it cost £750,000 for the race and in terms of a return in investment of the equivalent of £37m in potential advertising costs that’s a ration of 40:1.”

Sharon O’Connor, Chief Executive of Derry City Council, said: “Our partnership with Clipper 11-12 Race enabled the city to reach an international audience and raise the profile of the city and 2013 using connections and stories for business, culture and Diaspora. The city has an extraordinary new story to tell and we are delighted the partnership with the Clipper Race was so successful.”

The biennial Clipper Race broke its own records again, having doubled news media audiences race-on-race for the second consecutive time and achieving a total value in excess of £1b.

The international television documentary series Against the Tide, has played a major role in this. It follows the human adventure of amateur sailors taking on the most challenging conditions in the world’s longest ocean race – requiring almost a year to complete the 40,000 mile circumnavigation. BBC NI also commissioned a documentary about the home boat - directed by Derry woman Margo Harkin - which is anticipated to be broadcast in the New Year.

Meanwhile, the Derry~Londonderry’s return has been put on hold until next week after the vessel broke down en route to the city. The yacht, which is returning to Derry for a series of training sessions for young people, was due to arrive yesterday but will now not be back at Foyle marina until next Wednesday. A spokesperson for Clipper Ventures said the vessel the visit was postponed by “mechanical problems while at sea”.