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Top Tennis Event Director to the Stars turns his hand to SailGP

by Michael Brown/Yachting New Zealand 27 Jul 16:53 NZST 27 July 2022
New Zealand SailGP Team is linked with Live Ocean - the charitable environment trust founded by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke © Bob Martin/SailGP

Karl Budge doesn’t purport to be much of a sailor, but he is one of New Zealand’s leading event organisers having previously turned the ASB Classic into one of the world’s best tennis tournaments.

He consistently attracted some of the world’s top tennis players to New Zealand and now he’s looking to sprinkle his magic dust on the New Zealand leg of SailGP.

Karl talks about why he got involved in SailGP and what his vision is for the New Zealand legs that will be held in alternating years between Christchurch and Auckland. He also talks about what the fan experience is like at SailGP events around the world. Talk inevitably turned to tennis and what tricks he used to lure players like Serena and Venus Williams, Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova to these shores. He also talks about the time he gave Serena a piece of his mind after a less than inspiring performance. But she still came back the following year.

Karl delves into his background that saw him leave school at 16 only to find himself working at the WTA and Manchester United, but also turn down job opportunities with Formula 1, Manchester City and the NFL. This is a slightly different episode of Broad Reach Radio, but a good way to mark the 50th podcast.

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