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Taking the show to Sports Town USA

Published on December 7th, 2021

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
When the America’s Cup World Series came to Chicago in 2016, I immersed myself on Navy Pier to witness whether the Midwest would be drawn to this Lake Michigan show. My takeaway was a resounding yes, which explains why the third season of SailGP is heading to the hub of sport madness on June 18-19, 2022.

These are nearly the same dates as six years earlier, with only Major League Baseball to contend with. That leaves the rabid fans of the Chicago Bears (NFL), Blackhawks (NHL), and Bulls (NBA) wanting more. Even the White Sox are on the road in Houston, though Cubby fans have a home game against the Braves. Choices…

The 3,300-foot-long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan is a dream location, offering eats and drinks along the stroll toward the race course. While the wild card is the weather, a sporty breeze from the downtown skyline in 2016 was good enough to prompt capsizes by Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA.

I was with Russell Coutts when the USA team tipped, and he nearly seemed pleased. Maybe bad for the team under his management, but good for the show he was orchestrating, with an opportunity now to present the progress moving from the AC45s to the F50s.

“Chicago’s reputation as an incredible sports city is second to none and we cannot wait to bring the most exciting racing on-water to the skyline racecourse in front of Navy Pier,” said SailGP CEO Coutts. “SailGP’s close-to-shore action has thrilled fans around the world and we couldn’t think of a better venue to further our expansion in North America.”

Two-time America’s Cup champion Jimmy Spithill, who now leads the United States SailGP Team, is eager for the do-over after finishing second to last in 2016.

“We are absolutely pumped to be going to Chicago,” said Spithill. “Racing in front of Navy Pier is about as good as it gets and it will feel like a home event for us. The city has some of the greatest sports fans in the world and they’re going to be blown away by what they see when we come to town.”

Chicago also has fresh water, making it the first venue of its kind for the SailGP circuit.

Additional information including details on tickets and hospitality opportunities will be released in early 2022. Click here to receive updates about tickets and further U.S. Sail Grand Prix Chicago at Navy Pier announcements.

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