Former tournament director of the ASB Classic, Karl Budge, has been appointed as the New Zealand head of event and commercial director for SailGP.
Budge will be responsible for leading the delivery of SailGP's inaugural New Zealand Grand Prix held in Christchurch in January next year.
During his eight-year tenure with the ASB Classic, Budge was instrumental in luring some of the sport's biggest stars to Auckland, including Serena and Venus Williams, Juan-Martin Del Potro, Naomi Osaka and Caroline Wozniacki.
He will oversee all commercial partnerships for the New Zealand SailGP Team, led by Olympic gold medalists and defending America's Cup champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
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SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts said: "Karl has a passion for delivering exceptional fan centric and commercially successful experiences, and has a proven track record with world-class events.
"SailGP Season 2 is fast approaching; the inclusion of the first-ever SailGP New Zealand Grand Prix and having Karl onboard driving the commercial strategy is a really exciting place to be."
Budge said: "Our views are incredibly aligned on what the modern sport and entertainment property needs to be in terms of fan engagement and commercial opportunities.
"This is the first league I've seen that is truly purpose-driven from inception and genuinely has the fan at its heart. That's why I believe SailGP will be successful and why I wanted to be involved."
Meanwhile, the New Zealand SailGP Team is partnered with Live Ocean, a New Zealand-based marine conservation charity founded by Burling and Tuke that brings awareness to the critical role the ocean plays in a healthy future.
In its second season, SailGP will feature eight national teams, racing equal boats in eight events across three continents, kicking-off in Bermuda in less than two months.
The global championship will converge in Christchurch for the Grand Prix on January 29-30, 2022 on Lyttelton Harbour.