Three things sucking the wind out of America’s Cup

Published on July 14th, 2013

There were lots of promises and predictions when plans for the 34th America’s Cup were announced in 2010. Lots of changes, lots of selling. Dumb it down, make it sexy. Throw out the chess board, bring in the dodgeball. X Games for the Y Generation.

Since its launch, AC34 has been in slow freefall. While this is far from the event that was pledged, the good news is the boats remain amazing. But as Eric Young of the San Francisco Business Times points out, a lot must happen now to insure significant local momentum by the Match in September…

1. Where’s the buzz?
I don’t yet sense much of a civic embrace of the Cup. Perhaps it is asking a lot of San Franciscans – a not-easily impressed bunch – to get instantly jazzed about the America’s Cup, a three-month affair just getting underway. And it is probably not fair to expect that the Cup will give rise to the kind of civic euphoria seen when the Giants went to the World Series or the Niners went to the Super Bowl. But I don’t see many posters or billboards or much advertising letting the locals know that this international competition is right in our backyard. I don’t get the sense that San Franciscans care yet.

2. People still don’t understand the America’s Cup.
Sure, everyone has heard of the America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in sport. But only close Cup followers understand the quirky nuances of the competition. It’s not enough to say the America’s Cup is coming to San Francisco. The Cup needs to do a better job of spelling out how the competition is organized.

I talk all the time to people around town – smart, inquisitive people who are up on current events – who don’t know that September is when the Cup culminates. Some people even thought that the America’s Cup took place last year in San Francisco during a series of practice races.

3. The squabbles and rule changes are a turn off.

Legal and verbal battles are as much a part of the America’s Cup as water. But that doesn’t necessarily get people excited to watch it. – Read on

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