America’s Cup mum on how it will cover city costs

Getty Images file photoGetting there: The America’s Cup Organizing Committee is only saying it is “well on track” to meet a goal of raising $12 million.

Facing fundraising deadlines soon, America’s Cup race organizers are tight-lipped on how much they have in hand to cover The City’s $32 million portion of the total $300 million event cost.

The America’s Cup Organizing Committee — the nonprofit fundraising wing of the event — is responsible for bringing in $12 million from donors by the end of the environmental review process of the race plans, which is expected to be completed by early next year. After that, the committee is seeking to raise an additional $20 million over the next two years before the 2013 main event in San Francisco.

City officials — working with the committee on plans to update city piers in time for the race — reported to the Board of Supervisors in June that just $2 million had been raised toward the initial $12 million goal. Kyri McClellan, the committee’s CEO, said at the time that once the group achieved its tax-exempt status in August, the donations would begin to flow. But in late September, city officials reported the committee as still having only $2 million.

Since then, committee officials have declined to report an exact figure, only saying they are “well on track” to meet goals and that philanthropists will soon be looking to make year-end donations.

“The San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee is positioned to fulfill its commitment to The City of raising $12 million by the end of the environmental review process,” McClellan said in an email statement. “We’ve been blessed with generous support to date from a breadth of donors and are on track to meet the target.”

Supervisor David Campos suggested the committee should be more transparent, given that taxpayers would be saddled with the bill for the public costs if the money isn’t raised.

“That’s always been an overarching concern,” Campos said, noting that one of the original selling points of the America’s Cup was that it would come at no cost to The City. “I think that was a very clear part of the deal and we have tried to get as much information on that as we can to make sure we’re not left holding the bag.”

The 34th America’s Cup regatta — a world-renowned yacht race — is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of daily visitors to The City in 2013 and generate an estimated $1.4 billion in economic activity for San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Price tag

Costs and benefits of the America’s Cup

$300 million: Projected cost for race
$32 million: Cost to The City (to be raised by America’s Cup Organizing Committee nonprofit)
$2 million: Most recent fundraising figure released by the organizing committee
$270 million: Remaining cost (to be paid by corporate sponsorships and broadcast rights obtained by the America’s Cup Event Authority)
$1.4 billion: Estimated economic benefits for The City
8,000: Jobs projected to be created

Source: Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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