As the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Liverpool is renowned for staging major, successful outdoor events – with a strong track record of maritime extravaganzas – which shine an international spotlight on the city. Just a glance at our enviable annual events calendar showcases our ambitions, but we are always looking at new initiatives we can bring here”.
Well, being shortlisted, out of 50 bids, to be considered for the European finish of The Ocean Race in 2021/22 is definitely an ambitious initiative. The event – considered as one of the world’s longest and toughest races – takes place every four years and attracts 2.5 million live spectators and a two billion-strong TV audience. The elite of professional sailing will race around the world, visiting six continents over eight months of sport.
The shortlist is only 4 European destinations and Liverpool is the only UK port being considered. If it is successful, Liverpool will welcome the fleet in 2022 when the race would stop-over for more than two weeks. Anderson went on to say that “Liverpool would have a huge amount to offer if we were successful in our bid to host The Ocean Race, and we understand that an event of this scale is an incredibly important catalyst for regeneration, investment as well as raising the profile of sporting activities. To be shortlisted is a real reflection of the value Liverpool can add to this global sporting spectacle and that we are a clear contender in this race. We look forward to welcoming the race team to the city and showing them just why it would be plain sailing to choose Liverpool.”
To mark the visit there would be a programme of events, cultural activities, sustainability and business summits. There would also be sporting experiences to celebrate the arrival of this global exhibition of sailing prowess.
A team from The Ocean Race headed to the city to look at the feasibility and suitability of the city hosting the event. They will tour key landmarks, including the Pier Head and Royal Albert Dock, and explored the Wirral waterfront. The small delegation met with key people including Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, the city council’s Culture Liverpool events team and representatives from Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and the Canal and River Trust. Wirral Borough Council is backing Liverpool’s bid and would look at sharing hosting opportunities if the city is successful.
Race Director, Phil Lawrence said: “The Ocean Race is a truly unique sporting endeavour that brings substantial benefits, impacts and audiences to its host partners. We are delighted to see such an engaged and committed effort from Liverpool and look forward to partnering closely with the Merseyside team as they further develop their bid.
“It is impressive to see the energy and enthusiasm this hosting opportunity has generated.”