America’s Cup: How to galvanize interest

Published on April 2nd, 2019

Though Staten Island is hardly a player today on the international yachting scene, this was not always the case. In yachting’s “golden age” the world repeatedly came to the shores of the southernmost of New York City’s five boroughs to challenge for the America’s Cup.

But when New York Yacht Club defender Volunteer beat the Scottish challenger Thistle in the 1887 America’s Cup, it would be the last edition held on this stadium course as Staten Island’s shore was no longer a Cup destination after that.

The large audience all now had to head out to sea on spectator boats. Though patrol boats fought to keep the course clear, competitors had to navigate steamboats packed with fans vying for the best views. By 1895, the spectator fleet was estimated at over 200 vessels carrying 60,000 people, mostly large steam powered vessels that could handle the rougher seas outside of Sandy Hook.

The America’s Cup had gripped the interest of the nation, and a big part of the attraction was gambling. Much like today’s Kentucky Derby, bets were taken across the country on the outcome. And just like today, this is what heightens interest in sport.

Since the 2010 America’s Cup, the focus has been on how to format the event to heighten interest and attract sponsor involvement. The formula has been to speed up the boats and offer the racing within shoreside view, but what’s missing is the lesson from over a century ago… gambling.

Nothing like onsite and satellite wagering to galvanize interest.


In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and The Netherlands have also been accepted. Here’s the current list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT)
• Stars & Stripes Team USA (USA)

Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched
2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
December 10-20, 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race
January and February 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021: The America’s Cup Match


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