America's Cup plan sails through hearing

The financial plan to draw the America’s Cup to San Francisco sailed through its first hearing before city officials, but criticism of the deal has been raised by one supervisor.

The next America’s Cup will be held in 2013, yet the location will not be announced until the end of this year, according to leaders of BMW Oracle Racing. The team — backed by Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison — won the race in February and has the right to determine the date and location for the next event. San Francisco, Valencia, Spain, and a site in Italy are in the running.

The financial deal to lure the prestigious event to San Francisco received initial approval during its first hearing before a Board of Supervisors committee Monday, during which sailing enthusiasts from The City turned out to speak in support of the event. The full board is scheduled to hear the proposal today.

Under the plan, The City would not pay out any large public subsidies. Instead, there would be a deal that would give three properties — Piers 30-32, Pier 50 and Seawall Lot 330 — to the organizers of the event. The organizers, comprised of BMW Oracle Racing and the Golden Gate Yacht Club, would shell out for the infrastructure improvements for the crumbling piers in exchange for long-term development rights and future taxes generated from sites.

And The City promised to raise more than $270 million in corporate sponsorships for the event.

Economic reports by The City say the event would inject more than $2 billion into the Bay Area economy, but concerns still exist.

Supervisor Chris Daly launched a diatribe of criticisms during the hearing, including that Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office is moving ahead without reaching out to his office and without any real analysis of what it will cost The City.

“I’m interested in the hidden costs to San Francisco,” said Daly, whose district includes a portion of the sites where the America’s Cup race would be located. “It’s sold to us as big for the general fund, but I do not think various things are being accounted for.”

The Mayor’s Office, which said it has reached out to Daly about the race, fired back about the opposition.

“Hosting the America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay will mean thousands of jobs and an enormous boost to our local economy,” Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said. “It’s really sad that in his waning days as supervisor, Chris Daly would put his ego ahead of his own constituents and the small businesses in his district who have so much to gain from hosting the America’s Cup.”

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

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