Sep 4, 2012, 12:31 PM
Post #12 of 14
From Toby Cooper:
Re: [The Publisher] 34th America's Cup - how will the historians judge it?
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For the moment it’s all over, but the flavor of the August 2012 AC World Series lingers on. In the words of KFOX DJ Big Rick Stewart, a non-sailing rock-and-roll motorcycle buff, “It was all they said it would be and more.” It is possible that the Bay Area sailing landscape and our sailing lives will never be quite the same. And this is even before the big AC72s come to town. Here in my view, anyway, is why.
For one thing, Larry Ellison and his team understand that a key part of successful sports marketing is to make heroes out of the athletes. So they made a deal with the Giants with mutual benefits. The Giants hosted an America’s Cup Day in which the flamboyant Spithill waved to the crowd and threw the first pitch (a low-outside strike at that) and the die was cast. During the sailing week they played highlights on the Big Screen at games, screaming cats and overlaps at the finish line. As a result, tens of thousands of Giants fans now own a piece of the AC, with more to come I am sure.
It didn’t hurt that the understated Russell Coutts provided triple theater on the water. It’s all about attitude. Crash the line or crash the boat. Make the play or die trying. Ask Buster Posey. Sports fans understand this stuff.
I for one would like to thank the AC Event Authority for hiring a Sustainability Director and giving her a real set of teeth. As a result, no plastic water bottles, no “6,000 pink balloons”, and no plastic logo bow stickers peeling off in the Bay. There was more than ample exposure for sponsors on all fronts, but without the plastic trash in the Bay, on its shores, and in the Berkeley hills. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.
And what about “trickle down”? For sure we are learning more about wings, Stan’s GPS-based graphics and locator systems will find their way to local and championship events, and the 72’s already have computers that can sail the boat (easy enough to legislate against but still impressive). But here is the real trickle down. This event, or series of events, is planting sailing squarely in the middle of the world class sporting landscape. Call it NASCAR on the water or extreme sports or whatever you wish. It is what Scuttlebutt readers and post-race bar sessions have been about for years; how to make sailing appeal to a wider audience. For sure there will always be those who pan the AC and the Olympics as useless sideshows, but even the most cynical of us still depends on publicly-funded marinas, harbors, navigation assets, access to GPS satellites, and that little thing called the Coast Guard. Welcome to the age of budget cuts, my friends, and we need all the help we can get.
Finally the 72s are beginning to dance on the edge of the spotlight. So far their light air trials prove them stunningly graceful. With wind, we will come up with more words I am sure. I feel truly blessed to be here, now, in this moment of AC history.