SBD/September 26, 2013/Events and Attractions

America's Cup Could Return To S.F. Despite Shortfall In Revenue, Attendance Issues

Crowds forced America's Cup Park at Pier 27 to be closed to walk-ups
If Oracle CEO Larry Ellison chooses S.F. to host the America's Cup again, the decision is "expected to be the result of intense negotiations and scrutiny after the Cup's controversial debut on the bay this year," according to a front-page piece by Knight, Cote & Riley of the S.F. CHRONICLE. City leaders, "delighted by Oracle Team USA's shocking come-from-behind victory" yesterday, "were left to ponder, 'Do we really want to do this all over again?'" The holder of the Cup "gets to decide where to stage the next regatta," but Ellison was "noncommittal about where the next Cup would be held." The Golden Gate Yacht Club as the sponsor of Oracle Team USA "makes the formal decision on where the next Cup will be held, although Ellison, who bankrolled the event beyond the city's costs, is the money and the heavyweight behind the decision." Golden Gate Yacht Club Vice Commodore Tom Ehman said, "We just had the best event ever. Can we improve it? Sure. We are already hard at work on that. San Francisco? Show me a better venue." Ehman added, "Does the city want it? We shall see." Knight, Cote & Riley write S.F. "must weigh whether it's worth another one." The city "prepared by completing more than $180 million in long-planned improvements," but economic activity for the Bay Area is "expected to fall notably short of the initial estimate" of $1.4B. City taxpayers "may be on the hook for several million dollars before factoring in increased tax revenue from the event." Some officials speculated that the city "will break even or come out a little ahead, which they contend is well worth it to generate hundreds of millions in spending that went to local companies." But some city officials privately said that "dealing with Ellison's negotiating team was exasperating" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/26).

BIG FINISH: In S.F., Justin Berton writes after weeks in which the "crowds were sometimes underwhelming and the racing lacking in suspense," yesterday's result "prompted scenes reminiscent of a World Series victory celebration." Fans "showered each other with Champagne at the America's Cup Park at Pier 27" after the event. The park at one point became "so crowded that organizers had to close the pier to walk-ups" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/26).
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