San Francisco Under Budget For America's Cup; Expanded TV Coverage Planned
The U.S. city of San Francisco spent about $6.5M in the fiscal year '11-12 "for city staffers' time, permitting costs and other expenses to prepare for the 2013 America's Cup sailing races," according to Eric Young of the S.F. BUSINESS TIMES. That compares to "an initial estimate" of about $10.8M. Costs were "lower than anticipated because the scope of the America's Cup deal has been scaled back." Organizers of the sailing race "dropped plans to develop Piers 30-32 after the competition ends, which reduced the time city staffers needed to prepare for that site." The city "will continue spending this year and into" '13, when the America's Cup championships are held on S.F. Bay. City officials said that the overall bill through '13 "could reach" $32M. But because initial costs "came in lower, there is a chance the final price tag will not go that high" (S.F. BUSINESS TIMES, 7/13 issue). America's Cup Racing Dir of Umpiring & Rules Administration Mike Martin said of promoting the event in S.F., "We'd like to use August and October to really build the excitement for 2013 so we don't have this spike of interest and then go dormant. We are working with (the America's Cup) to have more visible locations along the waterfront" (S.F. BUSINESS TIMES, 7/13 issue).
MAKING WAVES: The S.F. BUSINESS TIMES' Young in a separate piece noted the race has "made several changes geared toward mass appeal, including a full-fledged effort to lure a TV audience that can help the competition grow revenue and popularity." The America's Cup "struck a deal with NBC to ensure live national distribution." Oracle Founder & CEO and Oracle Racing Owner Larry Ellison, who has invested in the event, said he wants the Cup to go "from a kind of elitist event to a popular sporting event." Ellison: "Professional sailing is not as popular a sport as it could be, because it has not gotten the right TV coverage." The main change to the TV broadcast involves "using a new technology that superimposes special effects over live action on viewers' screens, a step that makes races more accessible to a broad audience." There will also be "microphones on all boats." America's Cup Technology Dir Stan Honey and his group "invented what they call LiveLine, which lets viewers see the race course, the direction of boats and other important race elements like wind speed." Honey's efforts have "already won TV industry recognition, earning an Emmy this year" (S.F. BUSINESS TIMES, 7/13 issue).