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San Diego best place for America’s Cup

September 11, 2014

by Bill Center, U-T San Diego

San Diego is the perfect venue for the 35th America’s Cup.

For a number of reasons, starting with San Diego Bay as the arena and including the city’s history in the America’s Cup, San Diego has it all over Bermuda when it comes to hosting the next defense in 2017.

Bermuda does have one thing going for it – money.

San Diego will not be offering the financial incentives Bermuda will present in the final bids to earn the rights to host the 35th defense.

Bermuda is already on record saying the 2017 event will be tax-free for all participants and Bermuda organizers have indicated their final bid will include other financial rewards.

And, let’s face it . . . money talks.

But if pure dollars are removed from the equation, Bermuda has only one thing to offer that San Diego can’t match – a better television time for Europe.

That’s it.

San Diego has a better race course for both racers and viewers, better facilities that are already in place, a stronger cadre of necessary officials needed to run such an event, already strong ties to the Oracle USA defenders, a history in the event and a great destination for visitors.

“The America’s Cup is part of our DNA,” Malin Burnham said last week after Chicago was eliminated as a possible host for the 2017 America’s Cup.

The host will be either San Diego or Bermuda.

“We deserve to get the event for so many reasons,” said Bob Nelson, the chairman of the Port Commissioners. “I have been astounded by the amount of cooperation and support this proposal has received from public agencies, civic groups and corporate organizations.

“I think the chance to again host the America’s Cup has created enthusiasm and partnerships that we haven’t witnessed in a long time.”

The Port of San Diego is the official bidder for the 35th America’s Cup. But support is widespread and includes the cities of San Diego and Coronado and a wide range of organizations connected to San Diego Bay, sailing and the promotion of San Diego.

Even before the Port of San Diego made its first formal bid for the 2017 defense, Nelson had in his hands a blueprint from SEA San Diego on how the event could be managed and run. SEA San Diego had run two events – the RC-44 World Championships in 2011 and a leg of the America’s Cup World Series in 2012 – on the same course using the same facilities.

“We were able to forward a comprehensive plan from the start and our bid has gotten stronger since,” said Nelson.

San Diego has hosted three previous America’s Cups in 1988, 1992 and 1995. But those were sailed offshore over a span of five months with competing teams housed in compounds stretching from Mission Bay to Coronado.

This America’s Cup would be raced on San Diego Bay over a span of just over a month with all the teams housed on a pier less than a half-mile from the start-finish line. Viewing areas would be constructed along the Embarcadero, on Coronado and on Harbor Island. America’s Cup villages would support the viewing areas.


Port of San Diego  SDTMD Tourism Authority