Sunday, December 12, 2010

San Francisco vs. Larry Ellison

It seems like a lifetime ago when yachting journalist Kimball Livingston reported on the love fest that occurred on February 20, 2010 at City Hall in San Francisco. Mayor Gavin Newsom handed BMW Oracle Racing team owner Larry Ellison the key to the city. Ellison gave the Mayor a team jacket which he promptly put on his back. And both made a lot of noise about finding a way to make it happen that the new defender, Golden Gate Yacht Club, would be hosting the 34th America’s Cup on their home waters.

“We will do whatever it takes,” Newsom said, “because of the magnitude of the opportunity.” To which Ellison replied, “We don’t need taxpayer support. We need access to waterfront land. The 2007 match brought 680 million Euros to the economy in Valencia. That’s almost a billion U.S., and this should be even bigger.”

Ten months later, and now less than three weeks from a vital deadline to disclose the venue location, the level of negotiations between the City and the Golden Gate Yacht Club have gotten rough. Some might say it was only a matter of time. Ellison, the sixth richest person in the world with a personal wealth of $27 billion, didn’t achieve that status by always playing nice.

It is hard to know what is really going on when it is not clear who San Francisco is bidding against to host the Match. Recent rumors are that the City realized it is not bidding against anyone, which may have affected how much they are willing to give up. Also, with the number of entries now looking to be less than projected, the City may have reassessed the value of hosting the event.

If Emirates Team New Zealand had won the 2007 match, a venue location other than Auckland would have been a non starter. And what no one disputes is that the City is able to host the event, or that Ellison declared his desire to defend in San Francisco. For the Bay Area sailing enthusiasts that have faithfully dedicated their support to the cause, let’s hope the deal gets down for the right reasons and not the wrong.

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At 4:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the big lie of the cup!!! the mayor has just to ask his colleges in spain and Italy. And also do the sum... 4 teams if you are lucky!
great job mr ellison!! well thougth mr coutts!!


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