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America's Cup a ‘daunting’ event for city to host

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A day after winning the America’s Cup sailing race, billionaire yachtmeister Larry Ellison and the Golden Gate Yacht Club say it would require huge investments in San Francisco’s waterfront to bring the next race here.

“Bringing it to a place like San Francisco could be daunting,” yacht club Commodore Marcus Young said Monday.

In its third attempt since 2004, Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing’s trimaran won the America’s Cup last weekend. The race is considered the world’s third-largest sporting event after the Olympics and soccer’s World Cup. Ellison’s team and its adopted home, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, now have the chance to decide the next venue for the race. It was last held on American waters in 1995 in San Diego.

In the past, the next venue was often announced the day after a win, but Ellison and the club say they are not committing to a location or date.

Golden Gate Yacht Club leaders have said previously they would love to see San Francisco host the Super Bowl of the seas — an event that would bring in billions of tourist dollars and showcase San Francisco Bay to a global audience — but the club and Ellison now are considering several venues.

Young said a main hang-up could be the state of San Francisco’s waterfront infrastructure. He said it took Valencia, Spain, about four years to build the infrastructure needed for the race — and that was with everybody on board.

“There’s team and club support to have the next event in San Francisco,” Young said Monday from Valencia, where BMW Oracle beat two-time defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland. “The question is: Can we get the infrastructure and the buy-in from The City to make it happen? It takes a lot of money to host an event like this.”

Young said though it could be “ideal” to have the race hosted on the northern waterfront of the Bay, there probably is not room there for 12 teams and their massive vessels.

“It’s going to require a significant buildup, and that part of the waterfront down there has kind of been — I’m not going to say abandoned, but sort of left to its own devices,” Young said. “At this point, it isn’t really acting like an active waterfront.”

The City and the Port of San Francisco will meet with race organizers as soon as possible to begin outlining exactly what investments would be needed from either San Francisco or private investors, said Michael Cohen, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Hosting the event could have a “tremendous economic impact” on The City, bringing in jobs, tourist dollars and global exposure for the Bay, said Joe D’Alessandro, president of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. He said any investment by The City would likely be returned many fold.


Yacht club preps for trophy's arrival

The Golden Gate Yacht Club still hasn’t sorted out how it’s getting that hard-earned America’s Cup to San Francisco, but it’s planning to build a special room in its club to showcase the ornate trophy.

The silver cup will spend at least half its time in San Francisco between now and the next America’s Cup, Golden Gate Yacht Club Commodore Marcus Young said. The rest of the time, it will tour the world in an attempt to pump up enthusiasm for the prestigious sailing race.

The America’s Cup trophy has its share of fans, and it’s drawn hundreds of thousands of tourists to the “House of the Cup” in Valencia, Spain, since 2005, according to race organizers.

Young said he expects tourists will visit Golden Gate Yacht Club for a look at the trophy, and that the club plans to make the room interesting and interpretive enough for tourists to visit even when the Cup is on tour.


Elite company

In the previous 159 years of the America’s Cup, only six venues have hosted the prestigious sailing event:

•New York
•Newport, R.I.
•Fremantle, Australia
•San Diego
•Auckland, New Zealand
•Valencia, Spain

Only seven countries have reached the America’s Cup finals:

n England
n Italy
n Canada
n Switzerland
n Australia
n New Zealand
n United States
Source: www.americascup.com


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