Bermuda hopes to be rescued by America’s Cup

Published on December 22nd, 2014

by Wendell Hollis, HCS Group Ltd
Bermuda being selected to host the America’s Cup has come as an economic miracle for Bermuda. If truth be known, while just a few years ago we were considered one of the richest places in the world with one of its highest per capita incomes, we lost that position. We were deep in the hole with little or no way out. I informed Minister Gibbons that he had pulled a “rabbit from the hat with a silver bullet clenched between its teeth”.

For Bermuda to be chosen to host the 35th America’s Cup is a game changer and a lifesaver for us all. For many other countries the positive economic impact would have been a mere “drop in the bucket”. For us, it has every chance of filling up what otherwise would have been an empty bucket.

In the global history of sport, never has the hosting for such a large global sports event been handed to such a small place. The America’s Cup ranks as the third largest global sports event after the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, yet Bermuda ranks in size as the 230th country or dependent territory.

I know that there are those who have still not bought into this and do not understand what the America’s Cup is and what hosting it does for Bermuda. To some extent this article is also addressed to you.

I have heard some say that “the America’s Cup is a rich white man’s sport, there is nothing in it for me”. That is partially true. It is currently a rich white man’s sport but it need not remain that way. By hosting the America’s Cup Bermuda could change all that, if we all embrace it and buy in. We are a country with a distinct black majority. The America’s Cup is ours for at least the next two and a half years.

The world TV audience will see us all and all of Bermuda. We can change the viewing and supporter profile of the Cup. It is not true to say that there is nothing in it for all of us.

The late US President John F. Kennedy said: “All the boats in the bay rise and fall with the tide.” The tide has been very low for us for a long time. The tide has now changed. You can already see signs of it starting to come back in and rise. We will all rise together.

Ask a real estate agent about the requests to rent houses from the members of the challenging teams, ask schools about the request for new places, ask taxi drivers who have already talked to the members of the America’s Cup organising committee, ask hotels about requests for future bookings, ask the event planners for our international business sector who are already planning client events during the racing itself — they will all tell you that the tide is rising.

The building of two new hotels, the further investment by the Green family in the Hamilton Princess has all been announced since Bermuda was selected. Where there was no hope, now there is hope. Where there was no confidence, now there is confidence. We were in a tunnel with no light, now the light ahead of us is bright. There is significant benefit in hosting the 35th America’s Cup for us all. Hosting the America’s Cup will create what we need now, more jobs. – The Royal Gazette, FULL STORY

Note: Wendell Hollis is president of the HCS Group Ltd, a Bermuda based consulting and advisory group which provides corporate structuring and general legal advice to entities and individuals doing business in Bermuda.

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