Being the Host: All Good in the City

Published on May 23rd, 2013

By Michelle Slade, SailBlast
It’s been anything but plain sailing for the America’s Cup Event Authority, organizers of the 34th America’s Cup and San Francisco, the host city, but, if nothing else, San Franciscans will love AC34 for what it leaves behind. A full year of battle was fought to craft a deal that was agreeable to both sides, yet behind closed doors, the niggling still carries on. But, it is the America’s Cup so nothing new, and sadly, all to be expected.

As the Event has downsized to just three challengers, so have expectations, to the point where perhaps it’s a blessing that there are fewer competitors considering the radical change both organizationally and on the water that has occurred. Go small and do it right, I say.

Kyri McClellan, CEO of the America’s Cup Organizing Committee, the nonprofit group tasked with raising money to help offset the city’s costs for hosting the racing event, provides an update…

The biggest challenges all around?

KM: Managing expectations – that applies to every single category of the players – managing the public’s expectations, what the size and scale is – and that’s because it’s continued to change, managing donors understanding of what resources are really going to be required because they also continued to change – it was this goal, then that goal. Managing the expectations of the Event Authority – what’s it going to take to get this done – on everyone’s part.

Has it been disappointing for the City to have the Event downsize to the degree it has?

KM: With fewer teams participating making fewer demands on some of the public facilities, that means fewer costs. I think we agree that fewer teams means a little less interest and fewer spectators that would come for the bulk of the time. I think for our first time out of the gate on something like this, it’s allowed us to focus on the core objective for the city which was really how can we capitalize on the planning and preparation not just be successful with the Cup but look at the legacy benefits both from a community and infrastructure standpoint, but then also concentrate the resources on the events with the highest activity so really looking at September (Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and Defender Series), and the Louis Vuitton Cup finals.

That’s going to keep our fundraising goal achievable and we’re also dealing with more specifics now that we’ve held two of these events already (AC World Series events here last fall). The police department had certain expectations for the crowd and crowd profile in the and while the crowds grew toward the end of the weekend, the police were able to back off their staff because they had a better understanding who the audience was – different profile, families etc.

If the Cup stays, what do you see for the future?

KM:
We have six months after the Cup to negotiate. There have been a lot of lessons learned in preparation and I think there would be a pretty comprehensive assessment – we’ve engaged the Bay Area Economic Institute who did the 2010 study – they did an update to their report which they presented recently which recast some of the economic impacts – how many teams, the footprint of the event re fewer people here for less time. That analysis will drive and inform the city’s offering.

Complete interview: http://www.sailblast.blogspot.com/2013/05/all-good-in-city.html

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