After an exciting America's Cup finish, San Francisco tallies its score

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Larry Ellison and Oracle Team USA celebrate victory yesterday.
Mike Koozmin

When Oracle Team USA completed a stunning comeback yesterday to retain the America’s Cup, winning eight consecutive races, it was indeed a big sporting moment. It even had us skeptics at the Bay Guardian, who had already expressed sympathies for the Kiwi team, anxiously following the action. But the question remains whether this overhyped sailing competition will be a win for the host city of San Francisco.

That verdict won’t come in until November when race organizers and city officials finish collecting and counting revenues and expenditures related to the regatta. But it’s certain to be better from a fiscal perspective than it looked like a week ago, when the New Zealand team seemed to be headed for a blowout victory.   

For Larry Ellison — Oracle co-founder, team owner, lead champion for the AC-72 cause and de facto face of the 34th America's Cup — it must have felt like a disaster. His $100-plus million nautical investment was tanking, attendance and revenue figures were falling far short of expectations and the support he had from the local sailing community was quickly turning malignant after Oracle lost the day's only race, falling to 1-8 and facing seven consecutive match-points. 

But then Oracle started winning. They figured out the tricky upwind legs that had plagued them for the first two weeks of racing. They replaced their fired tactician with four-time Olympic gold medal winner Ben Ainslie. They started beating the snot out of Team New Zealand and in the races they were losing, Mother Nature would toss them lifesavers disguised as strange patches of wind. 

After weeks of fumbling, it looked like the moles had found their own mallet and were whacking away at their tormentors, and they were doing so to the tune of an unprecedented winning streak. And with it, the America's Cup image underwent a radical transformation; both in sport and in reception. 

The change in sport is simple — both teams have figured out how to race the 13-story tall sailboats through the unpredictable weather patterns and intense ebb tides —but the change in reception is anything but. As of last Wednesday, Pier 27 was dominated by Team New Zealand supporters. Nearly everyone in attendance was waving a New Zealand flag or wearing one, and the few Oracle fans left seemed to be nothing more than lost tourists who stumbled upon the international event.

But support for Oracle steadily grew during their winning streak -- Americans do love a winner -- and now it looks like support for the event has been as well, something that can be attributed both to Oracle's winning streak and the necessity for Kiwi fans to finally go home after over a month of competition.

As four-time Cup attendee Sonny Shaw told the Guardian, "I  had to change my flight and pay a lot of money, about 400 US dollars at this stage, to stay till [Tuesday]. I was hoping it would be finished by Monday." 

As it was every single Kiwi in the park. But the numbers are representative of this trend: As of Sept. 18, according to Cup organizers, the gates had drawn just 700,000 of the 2 million anticipated attendees. Ellison and his team had raised $16.5 million of the $20 million needed to offset the city’s costs (with a reported $14 million going toward the reimbursement), and broadcasts were drawing about 1 million viewers domestically, which meant that the Cup was failing to deliver on virtually all of its promises.  

But the extra race days have drummed up interest both in the competition and in the precariously perched Oracle Team USA. The crowds — by the end ostensibly split between Emirates and Oracle as each passing day thins out the Kiwi crowds — became far larger, more raucous and more star-spangled. 

The decks were packed, the cheers are both loud and informed, and the local venom present for the first week-and-a-half of racing is at a minimum. 

Even expectations might be met. The overall goal of 2 million attendees still seems downright impossible, but as of Monday evening, 926,000 official attendees had been counted, not including those who watched the race outside of officially designated areas (up 226,000 in less than a week, according to Cup officials). In addition to the attendance spike, the 6,500 jobs that were created for the event are still paying out and the extra time only increases the likelihood that the full $20 million bill the City was expected to foot will be offset by private funds.

It was a helluva ride, San Francisco. Was it worth it? We’ll see.

Comments

He's now responding with his dumb troll-post to every other post here regardless of course, slant or merit.

Call out for the men in white coats please.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

troll bumper

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

troll bumper

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

Ellison is a winner, a doer, an achiever and he has won again.

You just whine online.

Who adds more value to the city?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 10:06 am

Once a cheater, often always a cheater. My money says Elison cheated in the final races too and not just during the trial races, somehow or other. Regardless, it's fair to view Elison and his team as cheaters and therefore we should never trust them to play fair.

What's really unbelievable is the BOS and mayor almost got cheated out of millions of dollars worth of PUBLIC port property when negotiating with Elison. We've come to expect the port administration to be filled with real estate developer sympathizers aligned with the wealthy class, but the BOS went down the Elison deal path quite a distance too before finally coming to their senses. I don't think I'd trust the current BOS to put together a favorable real esate deal for the city after watching how the Elison negotiations unfolded.

The lasting point about the America's Cup is that Elison's team cheated and should never be invited back to the city.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

happy. My point was only that there is no evidence that he did.

And by the same argument, we know that Mirkarimi still beats his wife and Oscar grant violently resisted arrest and posed a threat.

Works for me.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

troll bumper

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

And I suspect when all the indirect revenues are taken into account, the city made a profit, Ellison had some fun, the spectators enjoyed it and Team America won.

A win-win scenario all round.

Posted by anon on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

troll bumper

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 3:31 pm

So you admit you just lied.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 10:15 am

the claims here that Ellison technically infringed the rules other than the one time that it benefited New Zealand.

So the petty-minded claims by progressive losers that Ellison won by cheating are totally unfounded.

Sadly for you, a winner at capitalism also won at sports, and you whiners in the peanut gallery can't stand that. A winner ot a whiner? Most Americans prefer winners.

Posted by anon on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 10:56 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 11:12 am

troll bumper

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

So you admit that Ellison did cheat and you admit that you just lied again.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

cheated. That obviously excludes the one incident that is well known, for which they were docked points, thereby helping NZ.

If Ellison won because of cheating it could only have been because of subsequent cheating, and nobody here has presented any evidence that happened. Nor have the judges who, unlike you, are experts on sailing races.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

troll bumper

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

sacrifice to PC speak.

I feel for the author.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

Dude, lay off the bottle. You're getting more and more incoherent as the years go on.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

gloated about New Zealand winning and how happy he and the gang down at the Guardian was.

Now Oracle wins after being down 0 - 8 or something like that and some poor intern slob has to write a article on the subject ignoring the past triumphalism.

Then there is your conspiracy ravings.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 10:46 pm

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