wave.jpgThe 159 year old America’s Cup sailing regatta (meaning “boat race” – you, or at least I, learn something new everyday), an increasingly international, albeit largely Anglo-Saxon competition, may be hosted for the first time by San Francisco in either 2013 or 2014. In addition to the status-marking importance of a city’s association with such an event, according to a report released today, the economic benefits are expected to be enormous.

This year’s winner of the Cup, the BMW Oracle Racing team, headed by billionaire software luminary Larry Ellison and representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club, has the privilege of choosing the location of their attempt to defend it. Though it’s no shoe-in, it is hoped the sentimental and business attachments (a home in SF and Oracle in Redwood City) Ellison holds for the Bay Area will cause him to choose, well, wisely.

(Adding to the giddy speculation on the prospects for SF’s status as official host is this announcement from the America’s Cup organization, stating that we have in fact been given “sole consideration.”)

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute, in tandem with fellow economic forecasting organization Beacon Economics, today released a report on the impact of the America’s Cup competition for the Bay Area, with a focus on the immense benefits to SF proper. The revenue expected for the region is $1.9 billion, with fully $1.4 billion of that going to the city. In addition, the job-generating effects are expected to bring nearly 9,000 employment opportunities. As the Chron notes, putting things in perspective, hosting a Super Bowl brings in an average of $300-$500 million; this is nothing to sneeze at, but relatively paltry.

The reason for this difference is the time horizon in which the respective competitions play out. The Super Bowl is a one-off event, while the legendary regatta takes place over a period of months, and with preparation beginning up to two years in advance. Qualifying races occur all across the globe in the time leading up the final event, but undoubtedly, and assumed by the economic projections, many such races will be borne right here SF. With the races comes Cup staff, their families, and of course legions of spectators and fans.

San Francisco Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier believes playing host to an event so coveted among the fancier fraction of the sports loving crowd would “put San Francisco into a different league as an international city.”

Peruse the world of America’s Cup and all its glories here.

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