Larry Ellison gives exclusive interview to ABC7

February 20, 2010 7:26:31 PM PST
Larry Ellison's public relations folks said his last one on one interview on television was seven years ago. But just back from his America's Cup win, he's eager to talk about his vision for the future of the cup.

"Well first of all it's going to be a multi-challenger event -- so we're looking forward to having the Chinese and the South Africans return, the New Zealanders and the French and the Italians," said Ellison.

Ellison says it won't be like last week's race in Valencia -- a court ordered grudge match between two billionaires in monster high tech racing machines. He wants an international event that's less about technological achievement in boat building and more about sailing.

"We're going to tilt the playing field toward the skill of the sailors, I think that's what the fans want to watch that's what sports are really about, its not who has the best tennis racket, it's who is the best tennis player," said Ellison.

And he doesn't like how the America's Cup has become a contest for only the super wealthy.

"And that's a huge problem, if we want to have teams from small countries participate, and we do, we've got to get control of the budgets," said Ellison.

His vision is 60 foot multi-hulls that would race in San Francisco Bay.

"Rocketing up to the weather mark and turning around and rocketing back on two laps. The whole race would take 40 minutes, it would be wildly exciting. You've got cameras on the boats, cameras in helicopters, microphones on the boats -- you would really get a sense of all the speed and the crew coordination," said Ellison.

And he adds in San Francisco, you can count on the wind.

"So you can count on starting a sailboat race at one in the afternoon 95 percent of the time. So if you're scheduling this thing for television, which is extremely important, you can rest assured the race will start on time and people will see what they've tuned in to see," said Ellison.

Interesting to hear a computer software guy tell you that television is the future, but he says if you want sponsors with enough money to fund an America's Cup campaign -- make the racing fun to watch and get it on TV.