SBD/December 10, 2013/Events and Attractions

America's Cup Has S.F. In The Red As Mayor Prepares Bid For Next Year's Event

S.F.'s America's Cup fell nearly $400M short of projected economic impact
The city of S.F. is "still in the red from hosting the 34th America's Cup, which so far has cost taxpayers" at least $5.5M, according to Bay Area Council Economic Institute figures cited by John Cote of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The numbers also show that the event "drew more than 700,000 people to the waterfront over roughly three months of sailing" and generated at least $364M in "total economic impact." That figure "rises to more than" $550M if the long-planned construction of a new cruise ship terminal, "which the regatta served as a catalyst to finally get built, is factored in." However, even the higher number is "well below" the $902M in economic benefit "that was projected in March." The real costs and benefits of hosting the regatta are "expected to be in the spotlight as Mayor Ed Lee prepares to submit a preliminary proposal for hosting the next Cup by a Dec. 22 deadline." Critics contend that "using taxpayer funds for the event amounted to subsidizing a vanity race for the ultra-rich." Figures from Lee's office show that the city spent $20.7M to hold the event, which does not include more than $180M "in long-planned improvements around the waterfront that were finally completed in advance of the event." The "most notable was the new cruise ship terminal at Pier 27, which is only partially finished." Ongoing private fundraising, which was "intended to help cover the city's event costs" and initially pegged at $32M, "has so far only reimbursed" $8.65M to taxpayers. If the net increase in city tax revenue of $6.6M during the event "is factored in," that still leaves taxpayers $5.5M "in the red" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/10).
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