America’s Cup: The Location Lottery

Published on January 26th, 2014

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
When Royal Perth Yacht Club won the 1983 America’s Cup, they hosted the next races off their shores in Fremantle, Australia

When San Diego Yacht Club won the 1987 America’s Cup, they hosted the next races off their shores in San Diego, USA.

When Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron won the 1995 America’s Cup, they hosted the next races off their shores in Auckland, New Zealand.

But it’s been different ever since.

The location lottery began when land-locked Switzerland won the 2003 America’s Cup, with the highest bidder proving to be Valencia, Spain. The Swiss escalated the commercialization of the event, and this trend is continued by the current holder – Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA and their Golden Gate Yacht Club.

When shopping in 2010 for the 34th America’s Cup, their prime focus was San Francisco, with San Diego, Long Beach, Newport, and Italy either being considered as options or used as leverage.

After San Francisco won the lottery, the 2013 event proved to be much less than promised. Now the City is approaching the 35th edition with its eyes wide open. Translated, their bid package is less this time, which now has Ellison’s posse reportedly pursuing Hawaii, San Diego, etc. as either options or leverage.

“It’s safe to say I’m not happy,” Defense team CEO Russell Coutts said. “It was a fantastic event in San Francisco. I don’t think anyone disputes that. The TV images were great. But we could go to another venue and have great racing. As we’ve gone into the process, it’s pretty evident there are some really strong venues. They might end up being better than San Francisco. Not by any means am I saying this is a bad result. This actually could turn out to be a good thing for the America’s Cup.”

A good thing for the America’s Cup? Hmmm…

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