Let’s hope that the America’s Cup’s new sponsor, PWC, can bring some rigour and credibility to the numbers being thrown around by politicians and pundits regarding the costs and potential benefits of the event.
The current situation, where a number is made up by an unknown source, reported by the BBC or some other news brand to become fact and then tweeted around the world as such, doesn’t really help anyone.
Take the latest release by the America’s Cup which restates the potential benefit to San Francisco at “more than 8000 jobs and $1.2 billion economic activity”, but revises the visitor figure down to just 450,000.
This would put the visitor number at just 4 times the reported numbers for Plymouth. Previous estimations suggested that the America’s Cup in San Francisco would bring between 100,000 and 450,000 people PER DAY.
Such lack of attention to detail makes it hard to recommend investment in such a project, however local politicians like Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. is convinced that the event will put “wind in the sails” of the port’s revitalization.
The Governor has signed AB 664 (Ammiano) to finance improvements the Port of San Francisco needs to host the 2013 America’s Cup. He said:
“This bill gives San Francisco the flexibility it needs to finance important waterfront improvements. The Port of San Francisco is a beautiful urban coastline, but its infrastructure needs a lot of work. By helping the city build capacity to play host to the world’s premier maritime event, this law is going to put wind in the sails of waterfront revitalization and bring tourism and jobs to San Francisco.”
In addition to providing financing for the America’s Cup “village” and spectator seating, plans for the new infrastructure financing district include construction of a cruise ship terminal at Pier 27. The terminal will host cruise ships that will supply additional lodging for attendees, and thereafter provide continuing infrastructural benefits to the Bay Area’s tourism industry.
Luckily for the city of San Francisco, the America’s Cup is experimenting in other places – getting it wrong on the other side of the world, to make sure that they get it right when they bring it home. Some companies in Plymouth were critical of the lack of extra business the event generated, but for San Francisco, the ACEA has launched portals to try and engage local business.
Mayor Lee said:
“We want to make sure that small and local businesses are ready when the more than $1 billion in economic impacts comes to the San Francisco Bay Area region. We are feeling the excitement of the 34th America’s Cup as we engage our local businesses, whether they are from the food and beverage and hospitality industries to the transportation industry, to our innovators and marketers.”
The press-release got ahead of the web-monkeys again. At the time writing, the job board at americascup.com/opportunities was displaying a 404 (not found) error.
Meanwhile, Newport has released their predictions of the economic benefit of the America’s Cup World Series, to be held in 2012. Economic Director, Keith Stokes said at the Newport International Boat Show:
“An economic impact analysis report conducted by the Rhode Island Department of Revenue estimates that the event is expected to generate $72 million in spending (including direct and indirect expenditures) towards the Southeastern New England economy and create 400 jobs in 2012.”
An anonymous estimate of economic impact on Plymouth, reported by the BBC, put the economic impact of the second World Series event at £10 million, but even if the 110,000 crowd number is correct (and some think it could be overstated by as much as 50%), the revenue to the city and surrounding area would struggle to get over £6 million (a difference of 40%).