America's Cup May End Tomorrow -- And Then The Battle for its Legacy

Categories: America's Cup
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Vance Cardell
With its sixth and seventh consecutive victories this afternoon, Oracle Team USA is on the verge of what is, without exaggeration, one of the great comebacks in sporting history. That much one has to admit, regardless of your position on yachting, Larry Ellison, or the America's Cup.

But, just as the years of Cup strife and the unpleasantness of the organizers pushing the event shouldn't deduct from Oracle's on-the-water brilliance, that brilliance shouldn't eclipse San Francisco's Ghosts of America's Cup Past -- and Ghosts of America's Cup Future.

That's the subject of this week's SF Weekly cover story -- which you can read here or pick up on the racks tomorrow.

In the meantime, Oracle and Emirates Team New Zealand are on tomorrow for a deciding showdown -- for all the money. It required numerous wind delays -- several of which curtailed races the Kiwis were leading. And the wind delays themselves are the legacy of the May Team Artemis disaster in which sailor Andrew Simpson was drowned. But, truly, it figures to be an epic sporting moment.

Let's respect it as that.

Let's not start making half-cocked economic analyses.

Sadly, that has been the tendency. The amazing Oracle comeback, coupled with at least seven wind delays, has stretched this America's Cup into a Wagnerian cycle. It figures that die-hard fans and media members would be scrambling for hotels.

It does not necessarily figure, as KTVU reported yesterday, that a boost in the city's economy is "evident" due to a scarcity of hotel rooms.

At this point in the year, it's always difficult to get a San Francisco hotel room. It's not hard to keep track of such things; in fact the city controller does it for you.

September, 2007: 87 percent

September, 2008: 87 percent

September, 2009: 87 percent

September, 2010: 88 percent

September, 2011: 91 percent

September, 2012: 90 percent

So, even during the economic doldrums, hotel rooms were hard to find in September in this city. The most recent data from PKF Consulting  -- from July, when racing commenced -- indicates that San Francisco hotel occupancy was at 90.6 percent, up from 89.1 percent in July 2012.

So, a 1.7 percent augmentation -- hooray! But, across all the Bay Area counties, hotel occupancy was up 2.8 percent from 2012. In the first month of America's Cup action, San Francisco's hotel rate was actually on a slower uptick than its neighbors.

Come tomorrow, it'll be relatively easy to decide who's the America's Cup victor -- whichever boat crosses the finish line first wins it all. Figuring out how much the city won and lost? That's a bit harder.

May the best team win.

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mblaircheney topcommenter

The writer is correct on hotel room occupancy... but at what cost. It is my understanding that rooms are going for a premium and then some. Traveling Cup visitors spending big, not a lot of Mac Donald's being sold to them, usually places with an extensive wine list. Nice crowd to be around, very polite, there for the sport. No violence.

aliasetc topcommenter

Larry spent spare change and the City got fucked!

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