America’s Cup: The pros and cons of venue selection

Published on September 22nd, 2014

If Emirates Team New Zealand had won the 34th America’s Cup in 2013, the venue for the next edition would most certainly have been Auckland, home of the team, home of the team’s club, and the venue for when the team was defender in 2000 and 2003.

But the era of Oracle Team USA has been different. Their club – Golden Gate Yacht Club – and its base on San Francisco Bay has never been the sole venue option. Not enough leverage, so goes the theory, without options.

Newport, RI, draped in America’s Cup history, went deep in the venue selection process for the 2013 contest before San Francisco got the nod. This time, perhaps wiser for the experience, Newport bowed out early.

Clearly, the venue selection is not solely about sailing.

When San Francisco got the flick for the 35th America’s Cup, it became a shock to everyone but the bean counters. While the appearance of the event seemed ideal, the underlying costs were bleeding all budgets. Plus the City didn’t need the event. All San Francisco needs to fill hotel rooms is the setting sun.

So that now leaves us with two unlikely candidates, Bermuda and San Diego. One venue has no housing and will host the races during the height of humidity and hurricane season. The other venue will host within its enclosed bay, squeezing NFL players into an arena-style setting.

“There are pros and cons to each as far as hosting the actual America’s Cup is concerned,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, skipper of challenger Ben Ainslie Racing, to the Bermuda Gazette. “Bermuda is probably better for the purists with San Diego offering more commercial potential.”

The final selection could be as soon as October. Standing by to hear the winning pros.

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