America's Cup Considering Five U.S. Venues For '17 As S.F. Talks Remain Stalled
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).