San Francisco's costs to host America's Cup decrease

September 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
So Oracle Team USA wins big in the America's Cup, but what about the city of San Francisco? Until Wednesday, the crowds were smaller than expected. But keep in mind, so was the cost.

America's Cup won't turn out to be the financial windfall San Francisco once thought it would be, a $1.4 billion economic benefit. But those involved say it won't be a bust either.

Tim Jeffrey is with the America's Cup Authority, the people in charge of the race. He tells us the four teams that came here to compete shelled out some dough.

"One team we know, for instance, spent $1.5 million on hotel rooms," he said. "And people have been here driving cars, renting cars, renting houses, buying food. This is a lot of money has been going through the system."

Leading up to Wednesday, the Cup Authority counted at least one million fans at the official venues. And many of them are shopping.

When asked how much she'll spend before the day was over, Lafayette resident Nancy McGee answered, "Maybe 80 bucks."

And we're not saying New Zealand resident Patrick Mahar is typical, but he says he's spent at least $10,000 in San Francisco.

"I've been here for six weeks," Mahar said. "I was supposed to fly home last night, but I bought a new ticket for today for $1,700."

It was originally projected that hosting the race would cost $32 million. But that's now down to $20 million or less. And the private fundraisers who are trying to ensure taxpayers aren't left holding the bag have raised $17 million and are still working.

The most recent numbers last April called for the race to generate $900 million in economic activity.

Joe D'Alessandro, the head of San Francisco's tourism industry, believes the televised images of the bay and the city skyline are priceless.

"You can't buy that kind of publicity," he said. "And that really does, really cements San Francisco as a preferred worldwide destination."

Look for the first financial tally in November.

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