The old saying is that a week is a long time in politics, and in the politics of the America’s Cup, last week proved to be a long week indeed.
The people responsible for hosting the next America’s Cup first removed the head of the organisation. Richard Worth was replaced as CEO of ACEA by Oracle Racing COO Stephen Barclay. When asked to comment on the impartiality and independence of the America’s Cup Event Authority under Barclay’s leadership, ACEA said:
We are conducting a robust search for a new CEO and that search is under way.
Meanwhile, the vision for the cup has been scaled back and the announcement of the deal with the city of San Francisco to host the America’s Cup in 2013 gave the new interim CEO an excuse to jettison several other senior people from the team that has been marketing the Cup to date.
The deal announced yesterday sees the city spending more money than they wanted to and Oracle Racing (oops – that should be ACEA) spending less. ACEA will not spend $111 million to redevelop San Francisco waterfront under long term property deals. Instead, the port will pick up the tab for an estimated $22 million for fixing rotting piers and developing visitor infrastructure.
Bear in mind, that while Oracle Racing has proven to be very good at building boats that win, they have never hosted an America’s Cup and like many other visionary plans they announced at the beginning of the process, the reality of what is achievable in a relatively short amount of time has proven to be a little too much for the team that was in place.
The Mayor of San Francisco thinks it will be worth the additional funding that will need to be raised. He said:
“We are thrilled that, in addition to the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup racing in 2013, that the America’s Cup World Series will also take place in San Francisco in 2012. This will add even more visitors, jobs and economic development as part of hosting one of the world’s premier sporting events.”
It is understood that the port will issue $16 million in bonds to cover the costs of pier redevelopment. Money will be taken from other projects to make up the balance of the money needed with some donations adding a couple more million.
If the targets are met, and the million spectators turn up and the $1 billion dollar economic benefits are realised, then the $22 million investment will be a good deal. With a TV deal in place, the offer to sponsors is looking slightly better, but it might be too late for many teams.
Racing for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, will take place in July and August, 2013. The America’s Cup Match will be a first to five wins final starting on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013