States after a 26-year absence in a whole new
way,” says Tom Huston, chief commercial
officer for the America’s Cup Event Authority.
He’s referring to the span of time that the
America’s Cup has remained captured by
foreign teams, and held in foreign waters.
In 2010, American software magnate Larry
Ellison, founder of the Oracle Corporation
and third wealthiest American, finally won
the Cup back for the United States, securing the right to hold the event in the U.S.
once again. He’s chosen to have the next AC
World Series exhibition event on the East
Coast, in Newport (where he has a home),
and build up to the final America’s Cup
Races on the West Coast, in San Francisco,
the main venue for the final series.
“This is the first time that sports-mar-keting pros have been put on the project to
transform the sport and create a future for
the next 100 years.” One of the most significant changes is the addition of the AC World
Series, a circuit of regattas designed to bring
Cup racing to top venues around the world.
These regattas are a proving ground for
hopefuls. “We created the AC World Series
as a precursor to the America’s Cup,” says
Huston. “It’s giving us the opportunity to
showcase the event, and to have fans follow
the action in between America’s Cup years.
It’s like the Formula One of sailboat racing.”
The AC World Series is expected to
have a substantial economic impact. John
Up close and personal, the America’s Cup World Series will be held just
off Fort Adams in Newport in June, and broadcast on network TV.
Laun is the president of the Sailing Events
Association of San Diego, which hosted
the AC World Series in November 2011
that drew 120,000 spectators. Laun’s group
provided the venue and basic infrastructure,
including docks and city services. “Prior
to the event, we did a forecast that reported a $20 million direct impact,” he says.
“Our key metric was hotel-room nights,
which we estimated at 20,000, with many
attendees doing multiple nights. The biggest groups of visitors were AC teams and
visiting yacht clubs, along with delegations
from Newport and New York.” The AC
World Series brought new jobs to the area.
Employment was created in local hospitality
businesses, at restaurants, and through security companies. “We also hired people to
create the villages,” says Laun. “Other jobs
MEET THE AMERICA’S CUP TEAMS
THERE ARE NINE TEAMS FROM EIGHT COUNTRIES competing for the America’s Cup. Those teams are: Aleph (France); Artemis Racing (Sweden); China Team (China); Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand); Energy (France); Green Comm (Spain);
Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 (Italy); Team Korea (Korea); and Oracle Racing (USA).
The teams train on high-tech AC45s, and sail AC72s in the America’s Cup events. The
number of boats per team varies; teams have one or two of each. For AC races, each boat
has a crew of five. The number of support people for each team varies from 30 up to 100.
AC45 PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Hull Length: 13. 45 meters ( 44 feet)
Beam: 6. 90 m ( 22. 6 feet)
Displacement: 1,400 kg ( 3,086 pounds)
AC72 PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Hull Length: 22.0 meters ( 72 feet)
Beam: 14.0 meters ( 46 feet)
Displacement: 5,700 kilograms
( 12,500 pounds)
2011-2012 AC WORLD SERIES:
April 7 – 15, 2012, Naples, Italy
May 12 – 20, 2012, Venice, Italy
June 23 –July 1, 2012,
Newport, Rhode Island
went to professionals such as longshoremen,
who were needed to off- and on-load 120
ship containers.” This Cup-specific container ship travels the world with cargo that
includes equipment for a high-tech broadcast production team, all of the sailing team
bases, and the boats themselves. “It’s like a
traveling road show,” says Huston.
The AC World Series event that will
get underway in Newport in June 2012 is
another cash cow, with an estimated economic impact of $72 million, according to
the Rhode Island Economic Development
Corporation (RIEDC). “Because our goal is
to bring world-class sailing back to Newport,
we have to appeal to the high-tech future
generation, and the AC World Series is
extreme sailing,” says Keith Stokes, the
Executive Director of RIEDC.
Detailed economic forecasts from RIEDC
report approximately $51 million in direct
spending and an additional $21 million on
indirect and induced spending. Examples
of direct spending include accommodations
($18 million); food and beverage ($15.5 million); transportation by air, water, and truck
($3.7 million); construction ($3.98 million);
and retail trade and boat repair ($9.5 million). Indirect spending includes additional
inventory, setup, and the cleaning required
by vendors in and around the venue. Stokes
estimates that about 400 new jobs will be
tied to the event in the form of wait staff,
short-term marine-trade work, and repair
work for the event.
The AC World Series is also the catalyst
for a major upgrade at Newport’s historic
Fort Adams, where the event will be staged.
“Fort Adams is a state park and national
landmark, and we’ve spent tens of millions
of state and federal money improving it,”
said Stokes. “Using the AC World Series
venue, we decided to build a world-class sail-
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
July 4 – September 1, 2013,
San Francisco, California
AMERICA’S CUP MATCH (FINALS):
September 7 – 22, 2013, San
WHERE TO TUNE IN
The television coverage for the races
to be held in Newport and San Francisco
will include Comcast, NBC Sports,
and a prime-time time slot. In addition, all races will be streamed live