America's Cup Cost City $11.5M, Report Claims

With America's Cup organizers threatening to take their yacht and go home, a new report on Monday gives cover to the "Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out" contingent. 

A long-gestating tabulation from the city's Budget and Legislative Analyst claims San Francisco took an $11.5 million bath in hosting the 34th America's Cup last year. This includes $6 million in expenditures from the city's General Fund and $5.5 million in Port of San Francisco losses. 

"As a result of these net costs to the city of $11.5 million, any agreement between the City and [America's Cup organizers] to host a future America's Cup should require payment to the City for use of City property and for City services," concludes the report. 

The last agreement didn't include such provisions. And it cost us. 

Here's the breakdown:  

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New Zealand Minister's $1,500 San Francisco SUV Ride Raises Eyebrows

So, it turns out the America's Cup wasn't the spectacular moneymaker we were all promised, repeatedly, ad nauseum


But you can't blame a free-spending New Zealand government official for not doing his part. Kiwi Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is in hot water back home after spending $1,543 for a day-long, chauffeured  SUV trip during an America's Cup-timed meeting here

New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, was forced to defend this use of public money. Key -- who has a hell of a sense of humor -- described the hiring of a driver and large automobile as "appropriate" and "relative." 

Well, perhaps it is the latter -- if the comparison is flagging down an Uber vehicle during Hurricane Sandy

"If you were using it because you were taking advantage of a situation and couldn't be bothered getting in a taxi that's one issue," Key told the media. "But when you're dealing with going big distances in a place where it's not necessarily that practical, lots of businesspeople do that."

That's an odd thing to say, for so many reasons. 

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America's Cup: City Bid Moving Forward Without Budget Analyst's Input

Categories: America's Cup
Evan DuCharme
Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!
As anticipated, the mayor's office is today slated to submit its initial bid to host the next America's Cup.

The fun, it seems, never ceases.

The city is armed with an analysis by the Bay Area Council Economics Institute claiming the regatta generated $364 million in economic impact. The Council's rosy predictions of a $1.4 billion Cup windfall helped sell the event; it then sharply downgraded its estimation in May before this month tabulating a vastly reduced haul.

That report's lead author, meanwhile, told SF Weekly there's still no way to know if the ostensible millions wouldn't have been generated, Cup or no Cup, by the hordes of visitors flooding our city regardless.

Budget and Legislative Analyst Harvey Rose's office has also completed a report scrutinizing the Cup's impact -- but its conclusions have not yet been used to mold any offer the city will make.

See Also: Economist Casts Doubt on Projected America's Cup $364M Haul

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America's Cup: Economist Casts Doubt on $364M Projected Haul

Categories: America's Cup
Evan DuCharme
Gangway! Do you know how much this is costing?
Earlier this week, America's Cup backers sent out a triumphant press release announcing the event generated $364 million in economic impact. That's a far cry from the $1.4 billion figure used to sell the event, or March's downward revision to $900 million, but, hey, it's still a lotta money -- even if city taxpayers are on the hook for some $5.5 million.

The lead author for the study, however, admitted to SF Weekly that "it's difficult to know" if $364 million represents any more than tourists who swarm San Francisco during the summer months would have generated regardless.

Professor Robert Baade took a gander at the America's Cup financials generated by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute at our request. The internationally renowned scholar on public expenditures for "mega-events" summed up his thoughts concisely: "These numbers seem extraordinarily inflated."

See Also: Purported $364 Million in America's Cup Revenue Still Comes With Big Question Marks

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America's Cup: Purported $364 Million in Revenue Still Comes With Big Question Marks

Categories: America's Cup
The number-crunchers who projected the America's Cup would reap San Francisco $1.4 billion, then heftily downgraded to $900 million have released a tentative actual haul: $364 million.

That's still a lot of money, especially if arranged in two piles. This is portrayed as spectacular news; an upbeat press release described the Cup as "an historic event.

Less historic is that, as long anticipated, private fund-raising to offset the city's costs came up woefully short; city taxpayers are on the hook to the tune of at least $5.5 million. Also, despite the very best efforts of the economists who have, repeatedly, whittled down their projections, difficult questions remain regarding exactly how much money this event really generated.

When asked just how the visitor spending numbers bandied about in today's Bay Area Council Economic Institute report differ in any way from the spending numbers generated by the hordes of out-of-towners habitually invading San Francisco during peak tourist season, the study's chief author forthrightly responded "it's difficult to know."

See Also: The big winner and many losers of the America's Cup

A PowerPoint of Bay Area Council-Generated Cup Data

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America's Cup: Auctioneer Thrilled With Liquidation Sale

Categories: America's Cup
Fred Noland
Say what you will about the masterminds behind the America's Cup -- but they don't seem to be overly nostalgic. One day after the controversial regatta's on-the-water conclusion, the fixtures and furnishings found within the buildings generously provided by the city and its Port went under the gavel, en masse.

In insider's terms, this is what's known as "a cleanup sale." And, per the man running the auction, the America's Cup Event Authority cleaned up.

"The initial sale was fantastic!" gushes David Barkoff, the director of sales for Heritage Global Partners. He pegs the haul as a total "in the low six-figures." Calls to the Event Authority for a more specific haul have not yet been returned.

Some 185 registrants showed up to bid upon "108 lots of mostly furniture," per Barkoff. But it wasn't just furniture to be had. Also available: olive trees, artificial grass, aluminum barriers, picnic tables, security badge scanners, light fixtures, bean bags, photographs of yachts, a ping-pong table, murals of yachts, floating advertising rafts, a KayakPro SUP Ergometer stand-up paddleboard, and a remote-control boat pool.

See Also: Everything Must Go!

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America's Cup: More Unspectacular Economic Indicators Ahoy

Vance Cardell
Happy campers...
San Francisco's hotel occupancy rate in August was 0.3 percent higher than in August 2012.

So there's that.

As the America's Cup recedes into the distance, rose-tinted memories of a spectacular yachting comeback may displace the years of acrimony, unmet promises, and manipulation marking the event's three-year gestation.

Far from the promises of Cup organizers and cheerleaders that the city could essentially take off its shoes and socks and wade through the dollars flowing into San Francisco, bean-counters are now left to scour the ledgerbooks, likely to see how much the city lost on the deal.  

When it became clear even to the most Chauvinistic yachting backer that the America's Cup wasn't going to be the Olympic Super Bowl of Gavin Newsom's dreams, windfall projections were drastically reduced. This led organizers to unsubtly pivot, repurposing visitor-generated tax revenue from city profit into funds necessary to make the city whole after expending millions to host a billionaire's yachting extravaganza.

Numbers released this week regarding city visitors during the Cup do not bode well.

See Also: America's Cup Party at City Hall! Who's Payin'?

The Many Losers of the America's Cup

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Hardly Strictly: The Anti-America's Cup

Evan DuCharme
This ain't boat racin'...
As San Franciscans, we reserve the right to complain that a huge, free spectacle held in our honor is a drag. It's in the city charter, somewhere.

But not all huge free spectacles are created equally. And, as folks who don't live in this city are fond of saying, "freedom isn't free."

So, it's worth contrasting the just-concluded Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival and the not quite as just-concluded America's Cup.

Both wrested away the city to cater to the whims of charismatic billionaires. But that's where the similarity ends. Hardly Strictly's charismatic billionaire took it upon himself to pay for the whole thing, even from the grave. The America's Cup, meanwhile, may still cost the city millions, even after an oft-farcical fund-raising campaign and dubious claims of millions of free-spending visitors streaming into San Francisco.

See Also: Hardly Strictly Surprises

There's Only One America's Cup Winner. There are Many Losers.

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Faux Larry Ellison to San Francisco: Fuck You for Not Clapping Harder Over My America's Cup Win

Larry Ellison will invoice you for this, too
Dear San Francisco:

Last week my team of highly trained yachtsmen, selected by a personnel database so effective it's illegal for the government to use, beat the crap out of New Zealand's team of hobbits. It's maybe the one time in the history of the world when a billionaire triumphing in a yacht race can be called a win for the underdog.

I know I won last week, and won big. But the results of the America's Cup were actually pretty disappointing to me. I was told that if I won I would own New Zealand. Plus City Hall, and your toaster.

I was also told that I would get to marry Supervisor Jane Kim. Or possibly divorce Supervisor Malia Cohen. It's hard for me to keep track.

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America's Cup: Kiwis Search for Silver Linings (Infographic!)

Categories: America's Cup
The above tweet was conceived, composed, and committed to Internet permanence moments after New Zealand dropped its eighth consecutive race to salt away the America's Cup in one of the greatest comebacks/chokes since the tortoise and the hare.

There are, undoubtedly, many Kiwis who feel this way. And John Key is their leader. Yes, Key is the prime minister of New Zealand. Well, bugger. Why can't we have a prime minister who does things like this?

So, what do you do when you invest $30.1 million in government money in hopes of hosting the next America's Cup -- only to lose it in historic fashion? You come up with an infographic, naturally.

See Also: There's Only One America's Cup Winner. There are Many Losers

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