Pedro Campos’ cell phone smoked last week. The president of the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo and historical reference of Spanish sailing was the closest company to the king emeritus during his almost four-day stay in Galicia. He was also the host of Don Juan Carlos, his close friend, whom he hosted at his home during the Viajes InterRías Trophy regatta, in the six-meter category. The former monarch embarked on Sunday aboard the rascal 500, who achieved a fourth place in this race and an overall victory in the event. The relationship between Don Juan Carlos and Pedro Campos has been very close for years, always with the sea between the two, and behind this bond appears the relevant support of the King Emeritus for the great projects of Spanish sailing, especially in the two major competitions world. : the World Tour and the America’s Cup. “If the king emeritus comes, we will have a greater media return”, Campos himself summarizes this relationship, referring to the competitions to come.
Campos, 72, was the Spanish skipper of three editions of the prestigious America’s Cup (1992, 1995 and 1999), was a member of the Board of the tournament held in Valencia in 2007 and led five projects Sailing around the world (2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017). Directly or indirectly, the love of today’s King Emeritus for sailing served as a common thread for public and private support to emerge and allow these ventures to come to fruition. The year 1992, appointment of the Olympic Games in Barcelona and the Expo in Seville, also meant the first Spanish participation in the America’s Cup, viable thanks to the support of the socialist government. “Since then, there have been significant sponsorships: Endesa, Vinos Rioja, Iberdrola… Some aid has come from the state, and the king has obviously supported these projects”, explains Pedro Campos.
Juan Carlos I also supported the Swiss Alinghi team which chose Valencia to host the 2007 America’s Cup, the first in Europe (with an estimated economic impact for the city of around 2,200 million euros) , and sponsored the Spanish crew, aboard the Spanish Challenge, a project that had a budget of around 60 million thanks largely to the sponsorship of Iberdrola. In the Round the World, the current king emeritus (he was an Olympian in sailing in 1972, and Cristina de Borbón in 1988, and Felipe VI in 1992) kicked off the 2005 edition in Vigo, with the support of Telefónica. Movistar and Mapfre have sponsored other Spanish projects in this contest, with budgets between 15 and 18 million euros.
“The king has supported sailing and all Spanish sport,” says Campos, whose sailors have celebrated seven Olympic gold medals and 52 world titles. “There are champions who have recognized him and who would not have reached the top without his support. Of course, we no longer talk about sailing if he is present. Around the World. The sponsors of the Telefónica, Movistar and Mapfre projects have always been from the Royal House. This helps a lot. Obviously, the sponsors seek notoriety, media feedback, and the support of the King can help convince them”, adds he.
After abdicating in 2014, the king emeritus confessed to those close to him that he missed sailing. Campos and his team then saved the six-meter class for Spain, which is contested on classic boats (built until 1970) or modern boats (since), with five crew members and very demanding physical requirements. adaptable to the limits of the old monarch (in these regattas you can go seated). Thus, he participated in the recent InterRías Travel Trophy, whose sponsorship had already been closed for months. His presence was only confirmed on Monday of last week, and he will surely also participate in the World Championship for the category, from June 13 to 18 in Sanxenxo, with 42 boats from 15 countries, after the King Juan Carlos has been held. Regatta El Corte English Master.
In the World Cup, he will go up in the naughty, a boat which, according to the rules of the competition, cannot carry sponsors. Yes, the test itself has them, by Xacobeo and Abanca. “It’s not the golden age of 10 years ago, but we manage to interest the authorities and more sectors. If the king emeritus comes, we will have greater media coverage. This stimulates tourism and the local economy”, explains Campos, who points out that his famous patron did not participate “directly” in the public support of Xacobeo in the competition.
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The wait at Sanxenxo skyrocketed this weekend with 200 accredited journalists (twice as many as during the 2005 Round the World), an average hotel occupancy of 80% and a curious fact: the collection for the car parks of the city has increased by 131% compared to 2019 data, before the pandemic, according to the city council. With no Spanish Round the World plans in sight, and with the idea of creating a team for the new women’s category of the America’s Cup, to be held in Barcelona in 2024, Spanish sailing continues to enjoy the lure of a special crew member.
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