Sailing: Karl Budge swapping tennis court for water, appointed head of New Zealand SailGP event

Former tournament director of the ASB classic, Karl Budge is swapping the tennis court for the water.

The man who transformed the annual two-week tennis festival into a must-see event, has been appointed head of the New Zealand leg of the SailGP series.

Budge will oversee all commercial partnerships for the NZ SailGP Team, which is headed by double Olympic champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

The event is set for Christchurch next year at Ōtautahi Christchurch.

The format will see eight international teams racing identical boats in eight events across three continents and kicks off in Bermuda in May.

The series is the brainchild of America's Cup great Russell Coutts and his Oracle Team USA funder, Larry Ellison.

It will feature syndicates from New Zealand, the United States, Japan, the UK, France, Denmark, Spain and Australia.

America's Cup veterans Sir Ben Ainslie (UK), Jimmy Spithill (USA), Tom Slingsby (Australia) and  Nathan Outteridge will also be apart of the series.