Pressure is on to bring the America's Cup to SF

The city of San Francisco and the Port of Fiumincino in Italy are the top contenders to host the America's Cup in 2013.
December 13, 2010 7:20:35 PM PST
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the city's team and members of the America's Cup committee have been negotiating behind closed doors at City Hall on Monday afternoon, trying to salvage a deal to bring the celebrated race to the Bay Area. Organizers don't like the latest offer, and one described San Francisco as "holding on by their fingernails to win the bid."

City leaders are under intense pressure to close an America's Cup deal. The race organizer says everything is in jeopardy now that the city is no longer concentrating on the central waterfront for the yachting event and instead is going with piers on the northern side.

That change requires less public property and cheaper upfront costs to fix dilapidated piers, but organizers feel it means fewer lucrative long term development deals and more financial risk for them.

The COO of the America's Cup Committee has sent City Hall a pointed letter warning, "if this current proposal sticks, San Francisco will not win the right to host the 34th America's Cup."

Mark Buell, the chair of San Francisco's organizing committee, calls the letter disappointing.

"This may be just the way to negotiate, but it makes it difficult to do in the public arena but were having more meetings and I'm confident we'll get past it," he said.

But like sharks smelling blood in the water, an official in Rhode Island talked with race organizers on Monday about having the America's Cup in Newport.

"Other cities around the country and maybe abroad are hoping San Francisco stumbles in some way," San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said. "We are not going to allow any misunderstandings to happen. We are putting forward the best deal possible."

On Monday, the Budget Committee was presented with the latest analysis of the costs and benefits. The city controller estimates that hosting the event itself will cost the city $13.3 million and the budget analyst pegs it at $11.9 million. They both agree the long term benefits like jobs and infrastructure improvements would put it on the plus side.

Newsom calls San Francisco's bid outstanding for the city and race organizers.

"I'll be candid with you, I will be very surprised if they pull the rug out from under us at this stage," he said.

Friday is the deadline the race organizers have imposed for San Francisco to submit its bid. The Supervisor's committee got behind the proposal on Monday and the full board is expected to vote on Tuesday.


Load Comments