The real estate roulette wheel known as the San Francisco America’s Cup is still in spin. In the latest turn of events, the city has kicked in a modest $8 million or so to complete partial repairs to Piers 30-32, which had previously been removed from the deal by the privately-run America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). Then, citing difficulties in securing corporate sponsors, the Authority named a new CEO and cut its staff in half.
It’s sounding like the America’s Cup isn’t going to be quite the mega-draw that the ACEA thought and that the investor with the most skin in the game, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, wasn’t willing to risk the $100 million or so he would be contributing.
While many in San Francisco are bemoaning the loss of the opportunity to remake some of the most dilapidated parts of the city’s waterfront, the ability to attract spectators to competitive sailing is the core issue. The Cup will still be an exciting event in San Francisco but to be a catalyst to revitalize portions of the waterfront it will take a sustained effort.