San Francisco Cut From America’s Cup ShortlistJune 11, 2014
An email to Mayor Ed Lee last night has confirmed the BBC’s original report that San Francisco will not be hosting the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. Chicago, San Diego, and Bermuda remain in contention the host the race.
San Francisco could still host an America’s Cup World Series warm-up regatta and the possibility of San Francisco hosting the 36th America’s Cup in 2021 has not been ruled out.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
It didn’t bring that much to SF after all was said and done – it was interesting but not really worth the money the city spent on it. Note how they don’t go after cities that could really use the economic ‘boost’ they purport to bring (Detroit, New Orleans, etc.) and instead are looking at cities that can ‘afford’ to take the hit to the pocketbook.
Every investment carries risk. There were a lot of unknowns in the last AC that increased the risk, first time on catamarans, first time in inland waters, etc. As a one time shot, arguably it didn’t pay for itself.
But with the benefit of experience and the surge of interest at the end of the race, whoever gets the AC next will get a lot more of the payoff with a lot less risk.
Should’ve been San Francisco.
I lost track of how much SF real estate (if any) was transferred from the city to the AC organization as a “thank you” for hosting this net-loss event. Does anyone know the capital loss here?
None. The deals to give Larry Ellison development rights for Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330 were dropped long before any boats showed up.
Thanks. Glad to hear that SF escaped the AC with only flesh wounds and no lifetime disabilities.
I think this is sad, and silly. I don’t tend to be a knee-jerk Larry basher, but this is nothing but an egotistical move on his part. I mean, Chicago? Since when did Chicago become an alternative to all things proposed for S.F. (e.g., Lucas museum too)?
Well they do have that ‘great lake’, 20 miles of lakefront parks and beaches that run the length of the city, several large harbors and yacht clubs, substantial transit infrastructure that already handles large crowds for annual lake front events like the Taste of Chicago (500k daily visitors) and the annual Chicago Air and Water show (that also attracts hundreds of thousands visitors), biking paths/infrastructure, bathrooms, vendors, entrainment venues all already built along the Lake.
And the Chicago Yacht Club already does an amazing job of hosting/sponsoring the annual Mackinac boat race.
Chicago has become a big spot for people because Rahm and the city will do anything to get them there. They’ll promise tax cuts, land, laws, etc. Anything needed to be done. In fact, most cities in the Midwest are this way, and very little red tape to get through. SF on the other hand, these people know and understand everything that it takes to get something done, and when someone doesn’t require all that, it’s easier to choose Chicago.
Look at Lucas. He had a piece of land he wanted, he promised to build there and then he was denied and now nothing is being built there. So, why not look at Chicago? Ultimately I hope he chooses SF, but it’s logical for him to look elsewhere.
Lucas wasn’t denied by The City; he was denied by the Park Service. Not to ruin a great narrative here. . .
Often times, these great deals are only great for the receiving entity, not the city giving away the goodies. Commercial and residential property is going at a premium, and the place is crawling with tourists all year long. Beyond unnecessary expenses, what does San Francisco get out of the America’s Cup?
Badlydrawnbear nails it. Chicago took much better advantage of their waterfront than we have. I am not a big Americas Cup person but I do think it was good for San Francisco and reminded a world wide television audience of how beautiful our bay is. No Americas Cup, no arena on the waterfront, no new museum, no this, no that.
I guess we are the city that knows how to say NO.
Well you can thank the other SF/Chicago connection, Daniel Burnham.
When SF was destroyed in an earthquake/fire Daniel Burnham proposed a new master plan which was ignored in favor of rebuilding SF as it stood prior to the quake. When Chicago burned to the ground Burnham proposed a new master plan for Chicago as well.
Chicago implemented much of Burnham’s plan and has reaped the benefits every since. SF, unfortunately, gave Burnham the finger and suffered because of it.
Have you BEEN to Chicago? The Loop especially is beyond human scale. One feels dwarfed and overwhelmed walking around there. And in other areas where there are towers, Miracle Mile excepted, walking is not so much a pleasure because in many cases there is little retail–just the lowest floor of buildings with some other purpose.
I much prefer cities which grow organically rather than being “planned” and even in Chicago that’s true of the best areas. I’m very much pro-development and pro-towers, but they should have as much retail and human scale detailing as possible on ground floors and facing sidewalks. Large, empty paved plazas in cold, windy cities are a mistake.
The Warriors arena will be on the waterfront on landfill, but not in the bay on a pier.
A “world wide television audience.” That’s a bit rich. I don’t know the world numbers but NBC’s coverage averaged only 165k people a day (name link). That’s barely above MLS soccer viewership, and only a bit over half of the viewership for the Tour de France (current, disillusioned, post-doping-scandal era). That’s down from 1.9 Million having watched the final race in 1987.
There are more TV eyes on the Bay from cut-to-commercial blimp shots in 49ers and Giants games.
True, the Warriors may end up on the landfill, but to take up Badlydrawnbear’s point, Mission Bay is no Burnham plan. Chicago had a similar area of railroad yards on their waterfront and they turned it into Millennium Park and Lakeshore East. Lakeshore East http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakeshore_East now has about dozens of towers over 35 stories (the tallest is over 80 stories), and they placed the majority of through traffic on underground roads 40 feet below street level and neighborhood streets around the towers are mostly for local traffic, bikes and pedestrians.
As for Millennium Parkhttp://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/millennium_park.html , its success speaks for itself. I think the San Francisco civic imagination is too small and does not “make big plans”. Parklets instead of parks. Bike paths instead of new subways.
The only part of our waterfront that is “Chicago-esque” is the Marina Green/Presidio area.
For those that say SF got little from holding the Americas Cup , well I think your wrong ,
it gave the city global exposure that promoted San Francisco as a great Tourist destination.
San Francisco is the 6th most popular destination for International visitors, and holding the event will have a long term impact for on visitors to the city.
As for the comparison between Chicago and San Francisco ,
Your talking about a city that has 5X the Land, 3X the Population, 2x the Metro population, 5X as many Towers, and a Lake Waterfront that dwarfs its counterpart the San Francisco Bay, but a fraction of the comparative above water development.
That all said , I think that for visitors of the event Chicago would be a great option, BUT , as an event being Broadcast its hard to see any city as the backdrop making it look good then San Francisco ,
Does SF really need more exposure as a tourist destination? Isn’t that already SF’s number one industry?
And as far as sailboats and skylines go SF’s is beautiful but Chicago’s ain’t bad either.
The big downside to Chicago, IMHO, is the wind. While Chicago may be known as “The Windy City’ that is actually a political reference and not a comment on the weather.
The bay provide much more reliable, although sometimes deadly, sailing conditions. I could see a lack of wind as a potential problem for a Chicago pick.
Heh, you should visit Chicago in the winter and reassess whether it is a genuinely windy city. But for summer you’re right. The wind can halt for days at a time during the muggy 95F-95% conditions.
Oh I completely agree that the weather in Chicago suuuuuuucks for big stretches of the year, -25 (-75 wind chill) in the winter +90 (+100 heat index) 6 months later.
But other than that Chicago is great … hehe
I was thinking the storms on Lake Michigan can be killers…..literally. The summer storms on that large body of water frequently produce waterspouts and extreme winds. I am very surprised they gave up on San Francisco and would place money on San Diego getting the race. San Diego has perfect weather for sailing.
Joseph, see my post above. Essentially no one watched this event on TV. No one cares about yacht racing. It did not give SF “global exposure,” nor — as bdb points out — was SF previously unknown to the world.
If the San Jose Earthquakes threaten to move to Chicago, I suppose you will mourn the loss of exposure and promotion of the unknown Bay Area to the world as well? Because we’re talking about the same level of interest and viewership. (I know they don’t play soccer in the actual Bay, so it’s a little different, but the main point is that we’re talking about an ultra-niche fanbase, not massive exposure.)
About the number of towers currently that exist or are being built in Chicago there are about 121 of at least 492 ft vs 24 in San Francisco , but then again if San Francisco was as large as Chicago it would stretch from the Golden Gate to the border of San Jose ,
Small or large television audience, I still think the America’s Cup was good for a city who still has tourism as its number 1 industry.
SF’s tourism might already be saturated so any additional promotion could just be a waste.
I supported bringing the race here last time but have to admit it turned into a fiasco and a give-away to Ellison. I’m not sorry it won’t be here again. Let someone else deal with Larry’s ego.
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