America's Cup organizers falling short on fundraising

March 12, 2013 8:17:57 PM PDT
America's Cup organizers are falling short on their pledge to raise private funding for the event this summer and that's causing some concern that San Francisco taxpayers could end up footing more of the bill. One city supervisor who helped cut the America's Cup deal now says he didn't do a good enough job of protecting the city.

Remember when the cup arrived and Larry Ellison talked about 14 teams coming to the Bay Area and competing for the cup, and the economic projection was more than $1 billion? Well, that's not happening. Counting Ellison's team, Oracle, there will be four teams competing and the $1.4 billion economic benefit is now projected to be somewhere around half that amount.

Organizers admit that private fundraising for the event has failed to meet projections, which means that the city could have to make up the difference. "The America's Cup organizing committee pledged that to us, that they would raise money to prevent that from happening to the general fund and our city services. And now, they're not living up to the pledge," Supervisor John Avalos said. He is calling for a hearing Thursday to get an update on where the city stands.

Michael Martin is the city's America's Cup project director. "We are well on our way to making this deal pencil for the general fund," he told ABC7 News. He says worst case scenario, the city may be on the hook for $3.5 million, but says the economic benefit is somewhere north of $780 million. "So, as you see with the fewer teams and the fewer spectators, we've downsized that, but it's still significant. I mean $800 million is not anything to shake your head at," he said.

"I think it's a big benefit for certain people and not for everyday people. That's my concern," Avalos said. He says yes, the America's Cup, even a much scaled down America's Cup, will be an economic benefit, to some. "The downtown, the port, Moscone Center, things like that, our hotels, but in terms of everyday people getting their boats lifted, not as much as we would expect," he said.


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