According to AP sportswriter Bernie Wilson in this ABC News feature , excerpted below, the 2017 America’s Cup will be in Bermuda. After Chicago had fallen out of the running, it had come down to San Diego and Bermuda. If the unnamed source for this news is accurate, there will at least be a clear direction forward. The official announcement is to come on December 2.
This will bring to a close a painfully long decision-making period. It seemed like Coutts and company were taking bids as long as they could to see what would be the most profitable venue. This may be the way the world works, but it’s certainly not what made the America’s Cup great in the first place. Tradition made the America’s Cup great, the epic struggle to wrest the Cup and take it someplace new, where someone else would have to try to wrest it. Every Aussie knows where they were in 1983 when John Bertrand won the Cup, even if the hours afterward became a little fuzzy. The Prime Minister unofficially made the following day a vacation! Defending anyplace other than Fremantle, Australia, was unthinkable. When the Kiwis (Coutts was one) triumphed, anyone thinking it would be held anywhere other than Auckland would have been institutionalized.
Then came Ernesto Bertarelli’s win and subsequent defense in Valencia, Spain. While it was a great competition, the real success was in the ledger. Here’s this from the history page of the America’s Cup Event Authority’s americascup.com:
The 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain was a success on many levels. By bidding out the city, the organising authority was able to raise revenue on a scale previously unimagined.
Follow the money. I love the lead of the ABC story, “The tax haven of Bermuda has been picked over San Diego to host the 2017 America’s Cup…” Remember when holding the event in Newport made it seem exclusive to the rich? That was child’s play.
Now, between Bertarelli’s choice of Valencia and now (apparently) Larry Ellison’s choice of Bermuda, it’s about something else. Maybe it’s about profit/loss, maybe it’s about catering to rich friends, maybe it’s about picking their next vacation spot. Who knows.
What is known is that San Francisco is a great place for a sailboat race, and that lots of people could get there and see the boats and racing in person. It’s not going to be so easy to get to Bermuda. Unless you have a megayacht.
By BERNIE WILSON AP Sports Writer
The tax haven of Bermuda has been picked over San Diego to host the 2017 America’s Cup, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because defending champion Oracle Team USA, based in San Francisco, hasn’t announced the decision.
The person said software billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp. made the decision after consulting with the CEO of his sailing team, Russell Coutts, a New Zealander who also is director of the America’s Cup Event Authority.
Requests for comment from Ellison were not answered. Reached in New Zealand, Coutts declined to confirm the decision, saying he was under a non-disclosure agreement. Members of San Diego’s bid effort, as well as officials with the Port of San Diego, also declined comment, saying they were under a non-disclosure agreement. Mayor Kevin Faulconer wouldn’t comment, his spokesman said, declining to give a reason. The spokesman wouldn’t say if the mayor’s office was also bound by an NDA. Officials in Bermuda didn’t return an email seeking comment.
America’s Cup officials have scheduled a news conference in New York on Dec. 2 to announce the venue selection.
The choice of the British territory is intriguing, from its location at the northern tip of the Bermuda Triangle to the financial incentives that include tax-free status for regatta participants.
It’s also sure to be unpopular with traditionalists and could mean the end of powerhouse Emirates Team New Zealand and perhaps other challengers.
This will be the first time a U.S. defender holds the America’s Cup outside the United States. It also will be the first time in the regatta’s 163-year history that a defender sails the races in foreign waters by choice rather than necessity. In 2007 and 2010, Alinghi of Switzerland held the America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain, because it wasn’t practical to race on Lake Geneva.
Before he won the America’s Cup in 2010, Ellison, one of the world’s richest men with a fortune estimated at $52 billion, spoke of how he wanted to return the silver trophy to the United States after a 15-year absence. Now he’s taking it offshore after just one cycle in America.