America's Cup organizers are "unhappy over negotiations" with S.F. Mayor Ed Lee's office about bringing the event back to the city in '17, and on Thursday said that they are "considering five U.S. venues in a wide-open competition," according to a front-page piece by John Cote of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Oracle Team USA CEO of Tactics Russell Coutts said that a March 1 deadline that had been set to announce the next venue and other details for '17 "will be pushed back until summer to decide on the venue, so there is time to evaluate proposals from the other sites." Coutts "declined to name them all, but indicated San Diego and Hawaii," where Oracle CEO Larry Ellison "owns the vast majority of the island of Lanai, are in the mix." A northern state venue also is possible, "likely Newport, R.I.," where the event was held from 1930-83. Oracle Team USA as the winning syndicate in the America's Cup last summer "gets to pick where it will defend the Cup and what type of boats will be used." Cote notes Lee, who "inherited the first race from his predecessor, now-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has been enthusiastic about holding the next Cup, but not at any cost." Last year's event "ultimately cost taxpayers at least" $5.5M. However, a study showed that the event also generated $364-550M "in local economic activity." Lee's Dir of Communications Christine Falvey said, "The mayor has been very clear he wants the Cup to come back. San Francisco Bay is the best place to have it. ... But we have to learn from the last races." Coutts and others "point to the economic benefit of the event, saying it is worth the public investment, but both the city and Ellison's group want to cut costs" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/7).
Events and Attractions
Maryland Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas on Thursday announced that singer Lorde "will headline the Preakness Stakes’ InfieldFest concert on May 17," according to Wesley Case of the Baltimore SUN. Chuckas said, "We believe Lorde is cutting edge. Some people think she’s the next Madonna or Lady Gaga." Case noted booking the 17-year-old Grammy winner "follows the recent trend of the Maryland Jockey Club, along with the production company I.M.P., landing 'ascending talent' for its annual concert." This year's InfieldFest "marks the sixth year since the Preakness Stakes’ infield shifted its focus from alcohol-fueled debauchery to providing a music festival environment at the Triple Crown event." Chuckas said of booking talent, "Five years ago, no one showed any interest. Now, at least when we go down this path, they know what it is. The other musicians that have played here talk it up." Case wrote the selection of Lorde is a "bold, intriguing decision," and the Maryland Jockey Club and IMP "should be applauded for this surprising risk." Chuckas said last year's was attended by approximately 120,000 people and the goal for '14 "is to obviously break that." He added that ticket sales are up 15% from last year at this point, and that figure was "reached before the announcement of Lorde" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 2/6).