By Alexander Smith
LONDON (Reuters) - SailGP said on Thursday it had sold a minority stake to sports and entertainment group Endeavor in a deal valuing the fledgling sailing event backed by Oracle's <ORCL.N> billionaire founder Larry Ellison at $200 million.
"Endeavor's partnership ... strengthens our position going into our second season and signals the projected long-term value of SailGP," its CEO Russell Coutts said in a statement.
SailGP, which is raced in identical F50 foiling catamarans and culminates in a $1 million winner-takes-all match race, said it will gain from access to Endeavor's expertise in areas including content production, media rights distribution, licensing, sponsorship and consumer marketing.
The SailGP catamarans, which lift up above the water on hydrofoils, are an updated version of those used in the America's Cup in Bermuda in 2017 and in their first season hit speeds of 50 knots (93 kms per hour).
"If the first season is any indication, SailGP has incredible potential and strong value for its partners, and we look forward to helping forge the future of the league," Endeavor President Mark Shapiro said in the statement.
SailGP's second season is due to start at the end of February in Sydney, Australia where local hero Tom Slingsby and his Australian crew will begin the defence of their 2019 title against teams from Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, Spain and the United States.
(Writing by Alexander Smith; Editing by Jason Neely and Chizu Nomiyama)