San Francisco, the hometown of Oracle Team USA, is out of the running to host the 2017 America’s Cup.
After much consideration, San Diego, Bermuda and Chicago remain as potential hosts.
San Diego is believed to be in a strong position, backed by political support from Mayor Kevin Faulconer. If selected, its racing would be on the bay, rather than farther out into the Pacific Ocean where it was in 1988, 1992 and 1995.
Bob Nelson, the chairman of the board of commissioners at the Unified Port of San Diego expressed the importance of San Diego securing the bid, saying, “We must secure this race in a way that benefits the people of our region and also advances the interest of the sport.''
Even though the 2013 America's Cup was troubled in many ways, racing on San Francisco Bay was spectacular, with the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz bordering the first inshore race course in the regatta's long history.
Oracle Team USA, owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison and backed by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, staged one of the greatest comebacks in sports to beat Emirates Team New Zealand and retain the oldest trophy in international sports.
America's Cup officials are unhappy that San Francisco officials aren’t offering the same financial terms as last year, including free rent for piers as well as police, fire and other services. Cup officials also are opposed to paying the equivalent of union wages for construction work.
Although last year’s remarkable American Cup extravaganza wowed spectators, it cost taxpayers more than $5 million. San Francisco city officials hope the bid will return to their favor if the other potential hosts fail. The city’s physical attractions add to its commercial appeal, which promotes its chances of hosting the American Cup.
Bermuda’s bid would come with controversy, as it would mark first time the America’s Cup would be held outside the home country of the defending champ. Bermuda is a British territory in the Atlantic Ocean situated about 640 miles off North Carolina.
The only time the event was held outside a winner’s territory is when Alinghi of Switzerland hosted it in Valencia, Spain. Similar to what Valencia offered, some believe Bermuda’s bid provides an income tax break for those participating in the America’s Cup. Bermuda’s location nearer to Europe entices television networks and other sponsors. Olympic star Ben Ainslie is launching a British campaign Tuesday in London, and other entries are expected from Italy, Sweden and possibly France.
Chicago’s bid remains a mystery, though many believe Donald Wilson, who founded DRW Trading Group in Chicago in 1992, has a hand in the Windy City's bid. He also founded the Chicago Match Race Center. Chicago may host a stop on the America’s Cup series prelude to the elimination round. San Diego, Bermuda and Chicago are competing to host the semifinals and finals. Early rounds will be hosted elsewhere.
The America's Cup began in 1851 when the schooner America beat a fleet of British ships around the Isle of Wight.
Follow Jeri Perkins on Twitter @jericashe.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.