America's Cup wooed to Bermuda with a $98m package

Oracle Team USA CEO New Zealander Russell Coutts with the America's Cup.

Oracle Team USA CEO New Zealander Russell Coutts with the America's Cup.

Bermuda wooed America's Cup organisers with a US$77 million (NZ$98m) package to host the 2017 regatta.

The figures have been revealed in an address to the Bermudian House of Assembly by the tiny island's Minister for Economic Development, Dr Grant Gibbons.

Bermuda is still celebrating beating San Diego for the rights to be the next venue for sport's oldest trophy, but it won't take long for the economic realities to become apparent for the 65,000 residents of the British territory in the north Atlantic.

The key figures revealed by Gibbons include:

- a US$15m (NZ$19m) event fee to the America's Cup Events Authority

- a US$25m (NZ$32m) underwrite to cover any sponsorship shortfall by ACEA. 

- US$14m (NZ$18m) for site preparation and infrastructure for docks and America's Cup village

- US$11m (NZ$14m) operation expenses for the America's Cup village.

- US$12m (NZ$15m) to cover transport costs, security, emergency services, insurances and legal bills.

Spinning the good side of the equation, Gibbons forecasted that the island could gain "approximately US$250m [NZ$321m] from hosting the event" while US$14m (NZ$18m) was predicted to come in via taxes and duties.

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Gibbons said the Bermuda forecasts were based on "on available economic impact studies" of former host venues, including San Francisco, Valencia (Spain), and Auckland.

Sir Russell Coutts, the New Zealand CEO of cup holders Oracle Team USA, was heavily involved in the process and made it clear that Bermuda had won the hosting rights from San Diego for an ability to deliver "two key criteria" - a centralised base to house all of the competing teams and its favourable time zone which worked best for TV coverage that subsequently satisfied the needs of the event's and teams' sponsors.

Working with an open canvas, Bermuda has promised an extensive Cup village that, most importantly, could have all the team bases in the one location with strong interaction for fans.

"That would have been very, very difficult in San Diego," Coutts told yachting website as he discussed the decision to go with Bermuda.

"It's just that they [San Diego] didn't have an open space which could effectively house even six AC62 teams together. But I should add, that's quite a difficult criteria for most of venues to achieve."

That was something San Francisco never achieved with teams scattered around the large bay at various locations.

Coutts defended the decision to take the cup to a neutral venue and believed that the regatta was moving with the times.

It was no longer a case of "we're just going to host it in front of our own club" and Oracle's club Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco were aware of that.

"We could have looked at it very narrowly, but this is an international event. It's got international teams, and those teams have sponsors, and the broadcasters are an important part of that sponsorship. So we looked at some of those things and weighted them very, very highly," Coutts said.

Coutts was adamant Bermuda could deliver "the best Cup yet".

"I'm really happy with where we are; this is a fantastic decision, and I'm absolutely convinced this is going to be a fantastic America's Cup. It's not a PR sell or anything like that; I believe it, I really do. It's going to be the best one yet."

 - Stuff


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