Getting Down to America’s Cup Business.
The promise of the hosting the America’s Cup is to provide economic benefit to the city. For a town like Fremantle or Valencia, the benefits are obvious, but for San Francisco the economic value attribuable to the Cup might be harder to measure.
Some benefits will be obvious, like regeneration of bayside infrastructure and property. Other benefits might come later, as a new audience is energised by the action on the water.
It’s hard to see how a state economy that is home to companies like Google and Facebook would see the benefit of the America’s Cup but anything more than a blip. The state of California could reap up to $2.4 billion in tax from the Facebook IPO and according to ORACLE, Google’s Android platform alone makes $10 million per day.
But despite being the gateway to Silicon Valley and an engine-room of innovation and entreprenuerialism, San Francisco officials believe that the America’s Cup still has the ability to ‘transform the economy’ – and there is an argument to say that there will be local and hyper-local benefits.
Jim Lazarus, Vice President of public policy for the San Francisco Chamber says:
“We all keep hearing about the enormous economic benefits that are expected from the America’s Cup. As the excitement builds, more and more businesses are asking how they can get in on the action. This is going to transform the economy, and local businesses want to be front and center when the teams, event organizers and spectators start shopping for services.”
Kevin Carroll, Executive Director, Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District is also optimistic:
“America’s Cup will bring people to the wharf – the race is right outside our door – and that’s what people are excited about. Hosting events, people staying at hotels, eating at restaurants, tours & attractions. They’ll come for the races, watch the races, and enjoy themselves here before and after.”
Sometimes Doing Business Takes Away From the Big Picture
San Francisco Mayor, Edwin M. Lee hopes that the America’s Cup could be transformational for the city, but not everyone is happy. There are grumbles from people who think that unfair property deals are being done and others who are concerned about the effect on the environment.
According to the Mayor, these things – including complicated leases and “the dreaded word – lawsuits” – are taking away from the big picture, to run a great sailing event in San Francisco, so he has announced a change to the plans for the main event, to be staged in 2013.
The Mayor and the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) have taken Piers 30-32 off the table for use during the America’s Cup events, consolidating all racing teams at Pier 80 and build a race village at Pier 27-29.
The PR statement is about hope and promise, but during the press conference, the Mayor said that the threat of lawsuits was one of the reasons for the change. In his statement he said:
“We are excited to host the 34th America’s Cup, one of the world’s greatest international sporting events, in San Francisco and benefit from the jobs and economic impacts that come with it. This consolidated venue plan with the teams at Pier 80 will ensure we are ready for races this year and in 2013 and brings new investment and improvements to our City’s Southern waterfront.”
America’s Cup Event Authority representative Stephen Barclay’s pithy PR paragraph was:
“We want to thank the Mayor, his staff and the City of San Francisco for their incredible support and efforts working with us to make our collective goal of a remarkable race a reality. We believe that these changes will further the progress towards our collective goal while maintaining major investments in City Infrastructure. We look forward to continuing our work with the Mayor and the City and delivering all the benefits this race will bring.”
The full 14 minute Press conference can be watched here…