Media Pro added a second event to its Caribbean repertoire, coordinating with Rolex Geneva's PR arm Key Partners to handle the Swiss watchmaker's first-time sponsorship of Antigua Sailing Week in April. Despite the challenges of down-island logistics and technology, the hybrid PR team mobilized itself to follow the racing fleet from port to port as it raced its way around Antigua. The Rolex Antigua Sailing Week media plan included outreach to an extensive Caribbean press pool cultivated by MEDIA PRO during its eight years as press coordinator for the 33-year-old International Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas. This year, TV2 in St. Thomas covered both regattas thoroughly for a documentary on island racing, while radio (Mongoose, Radio One, VI Pirate Radio), magazines (Southern Boating, Destinatin USVI, All at Sea, Caribbean Compass) and newspapers (Virgin Island Daily News, Antigua Sun, San Juan Star, Puerto Rico Herald and St. Thomas/St. John This Week) put their own special spin on the events. Title sponsorship from Rolex also attracted CNN's "MainSail" program, which produced a feature package hosted by two-time Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson.
A unique PR angle presented itself in February for the 2005 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards, the announcement for which is made annually at a Rolex-hosted luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. For the first time, a disabled sailor, Nick Scandone of Fountain Valley, Calif., was named a recipient, and this fact combined with Nick's high profile as a world-champion disabled sailor and 2008 Paralympic hopeful gave him a strong spotlight in which to shine. Scandone's story appeared as an Associated Press ASAP feature and NBC Nightly News "Good News" segment. He was also featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd." MEDIA PRO plays a major administrative role in these awards as well, coordinating with Rolex and US SAILING to provide the panel of noted sailing journalists with extensive bios on the nominees; organize the panel's conference call; coordinate travel plans to New York for the recipients and their families; and plan the luncheon itself, which also serves as a press function.
"Your support of my efforts to promote sailing in this corner of the world has been wonderful for me, and a motivating factor in why I work so hard to 'get the news out.'"
--Andrea Watson, Manhasset Press and Port Washington News