SBD/April 16, 2013/Events and Attractions

America's Cup Organizers Face Community Backlash Three Months Before Race

Profits are now expected to be lower than the $1B that was originally promised
With less than three months before the start of the America's Cup races in S.F., locals are “lining up lawyers, insisting on written contracts about concert hours and signing petitions to shame" Oracle Founder & CEO Larry Ellison "into covering the city's bills,” according to Julia Prodis Sulek of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The backlash is “sending America's Cup organizers scrambling to explain themselves at community meetings and forcing them to make concessions while in the final planning stages for the international sporting event.” Promoters first “promised more than a dozen international boats would come to the Bay Area to face Ellison's Oracle Racing (only three are coming), that the city would reap more than $1 billion in economic rewards (that has been downgraded to less than $1 billion) and that a group of San Francisco's ‘who's who’ would raise $32 million in private money to help defer the city's costs (less than half that has been raised).” Still, event organizers said that there is “nothing to be ashamed about.” The Cup has “already been a catalyst for the city to make long-awaited improvements to the waterfront, including upgrading dilapidated piers into parks and open space and building a new cruise ship terminal.” Organizers said that while the city's general fund “may not profit from the event, the impact will be a wash with the combination of private donations and new tax revenues.” Downscaling the event “means the city's expenses for things like police overtime, extra Muni buses and other costs will drop, too, to about $23 million.” But fundraising to cover those costs “has been sluggish,” as only $6M “in private donations has been raised, even with an impressive list of committee members” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/15).
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