America's Cup falls short of economic expectations

The America's Cup race is not bringing in the anticipated economic boon many in San Francisco expected.
August 21, 2013 9:47:54 PM PDT
The America's Cup is supposed to be a money machine for San Francisco beginning with an expected $13 million in projected tax revenue, but what began with 15 boats is now down to four and there's plenty of economic disappointment along Fisherman's Wharf.

It's hard to believe by looking at the crowds, but this is the land the America's Cup has passed by in two ways, not one. The first of them happened again on Wednesday, just off shore, with the literal passing by of the racing boats. As for the second, ask a question of passing tourists.

The tourists we spoke to couldn't name one single team racing in the America's Cup. Others didn't even know who Larry Ellison is. You can call it the disconnect between expectations and reality.

Frank Rescino, a third-generation fisherman, said the America's Cup hasn't been good to him and he can count the ways. He told us about the detours he has to take around the races, every time he takes tourists out on the bay. The America's Cup costs him five extra gallons per trip.

"It was a pipe dream. I mean, we were really happy to hear it was coming. We thought we would get a lot of people who would want to go on a boat ride to see it. And none of that happened," said Rescino.

It's the economic boon, that became a ho-hum, surprise, surprise -- even for "The Bushman".

"It aren't as many people as it should be," said David Johnson, "The Bushman".

There aren't many tourism dollars either. The number some business whisper is 30 percent. That's 30 percent less this summer than expectations.

"There's only two boats out there and you kind of spot them off in the distance. There's not a lot to see," said Nancy Pompei, the owner of Pompei's Grotto.

Pompei runs a famous restaurant with a sign right on the street. It's a slightly better than average summer, she says and summers are good. But this one was supposed to be great.

Freedman: "So if you expect more but get less, but it's more than you would have had?"
Pompei: "Well, that would be good. Always."
Freedman: "Is that what you got?"
Pompei: "Maybe."

Maybe we won't know for certain until the final boat comes in.


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