£6.5m money Clip for city

THE world-famous Clipper Race was worth almost £6.5 million to the Capital in terms of worldwide media exposure, it has emerged.

The value of the race was revealed as First Minister Alex Salmond backed a bid to bring a leg to the city after the success of this year's Edinburgh Inspiring Capital entry.

Initial figures suggested the impact of free advertising from images, newspaper articles and television reports on the city's vessel was worth 1m to Edinburgh in the first six months of the race.

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However, figures delivered by Sports Marketing Surveys, the independent evaluation agency used by FIFA and McLaren, showed the value had quadrupled during the 35,000-mile, ten-month race.

The Inspiring Capital entry featured in 783 media stories and reached an audience of over 40 million people worldwide.

The total audience for the race, and all entries, exceeded half a billion people, with the overall media value estimated at more than 65m.

Tourism bosses have previously said Edinburgh would be the "ideal choice" to host a leg of the race, putting it in the global spotlight alongside New York, Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town.

Alex Salmond today backed the campaign by city leaders and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world, to bring a leg of the race to Leith, and with it millions of pounds in investment and tourism.

The First Minister said: "Last year, I was delighted to officially name Edinburgh's entry and welcome the yacht to the 09-10 race.

"The crew of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital were wonderful ambassadors for Scotland, as well as an inspiration to others who are striving to overcome personal challenges or to achieve their ambitions.

"It would be fantastic to see the race come to Edinburgh."

Laura Gordon,chief executive of corporate connections international, who is working with race organisers Clipper Ventures to help identify corporate partners for the Scottish entry for the 2011-12 race, said the opportunity for the city could not be underestimated.

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She said: "The Clipper Race provides a unique marketing platform for international business promotion at 15 ports of call across the world over a year-long period. A Scottish entry will create a powerful focus for a global business initiative that will not only boost trade and international brand recognition for the commercial sponsors but will also raise the profile of the country as an international destination."

Sir Robin, chairman of Clipper Ventures, added: "It would be a real first for Scotland, to bring an international round-the-world yachts race and its influential sponsors to the Capital for a celebration of Edinburgh as a world-class destination."