Four years ago, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and legendary America’s Cup sailor Russell Coutts were credited with bringing Formula 1 racing to professional sailboat racing.
Today, SailGP’s United States team has been purchased by tech investor and founding Uber engineer Ryan McKillen, Margaret McKillen, and two-time world champion sailor Mike Buckley, according to Forbes. It has been described as “the largest team acquisition in SailGP history.”
The move is a clear indication that the league is attracting much bigger audiences due to its special brand of excitement, competition, and environmental consciousness, Forbes said.
Per the new U.S SailGP Team leadership structure, Ryan McKillen will serve as Chairman, and Mike Buckley as Chief Executive Officer. Seven-time world champion sailor Taylor Canfield will serve as team driver. A diverse group of investors also joined them. Led by Avenue Capital Group CEO Marc Lasry’s Avenue Sports Fund, the investment group includes Issa Rae, boxing heavyweight Deontay Wilder, NFL stars DeAndre Hopkins, Malik Jackson, Roquan Smith, and Kayvon Thibodeaux.
“We believe that diversity is a competitive advantage, and it needs to start at the top,” said Mike Buckley, U.S. SailGP Team Co-owner and CEO. “We have assembled the most diverse ownership group in the history of our sport.”
“By bringing together this remarkable group to acquire the United States SailGP Team, we have reached an important milestone in the growth of our sport,” U.S. SailGP Team Co-owner and Chairman Ryan McKillen said.
“As sailors, we love this sport and want to introduce it to millions; as entrepreneurs, we recognize the potential and growth trajectory of SailGP and how our U.S. SailGP Team can introduce the future of on-water racing at the highest level. Our incredible ownership group is a testament to the growth and expansion of SailGP into the mainstream.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. SailGP Team will make its debut at the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix on December 9, 2023.
Insecure’s Rae first rose to prominence with Awkward Black Girl, a web series she wrote that gained over 20 million views and over 260,000 subscribers on YouTube.
She is also the writer of the New York Times best-selling memoir, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl, a Forbes 20 under 30 Fellow, and an Essence Magazine Game Changer. Recently, the actress partnered with E. & J. Gallo Winery to launch Viarae Prosecco.