As the Summer Olympics continue with much fanfare in London, San Francisco is preparing for its own world-class sporting event — the 34th America’s Cup. In less than three weeks, the first sailing races will commence on the Bay, ushering in a series of regattas expected to generate nearly 9,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in economic activity across the region over the next year and a half.
The economic benefits of hosting one of the largest sporting competitions in the world in San Francisco are significant. From developing the event facilities, to housing and supporting the racing teams, to hosting and entertaining spectators, many opportunities are available for local businesses and organizations.
Thanks to the workforce plan created by city and race officials, San Francisco businesses are sure to benefit from these opportunities. The America’s Cup Event Authority aims to award at least 30 percent of certain race-related contracts to small local businesses and put local residents into at least half of certain new entry-level hires. Special provisions will also enable local businesses to gain from specific event-related construction and temporary installation projects.
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is also playing a role in boosting local business participation in the America’s Cup. Working out of the “One-Stop-Shop,” which opened this week in the America’s Cup San Francisco headquarters at Pier 23, the chamber is helping to inform local businesses about opportunities, streamline and facilitate the procurement process, and serve as an in-house resource for America’s Cup competitors seeking to connect with products and services.
Working alongside the San Francisco Travel Association and 311, the One-Stop-Shop will also serve as an information center for visitors seeking information about the America’s Cup and other places of interest in San Francisco and around the Bay Area.
Race officials are expecting 50,000 to 100,000 visitors for weekend race events and many thousands more for the America’s Cup finals in 2013. Providing a place for interested spectators to learn about race-related activities and other attractions will benefit local businesses across The City and region.
At a time when economic recovery remains sluggish across much of the state and the nation, it is important for San Francisco to maximize the job and economic opportunities associated with the America’s Cup.
The One-Stop-Shop is important in helping to achieve this goal. It provides a central place for visitors, teams, businesses and stakeholders to connect. And it will help ensure that local organizations can take full advantage of the tremendous economic opportunities now coming to our city.
Steve Falk is president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.