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What is the future of the AC World Series?
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Jan 8, 2013, 1:06 PM

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What is the future of the AC World Series? Log-In to Post/Reply

(January 8, 2013) - The America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) announced today that it will no longer host the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) events contemplated for late May/ early June in New York. The only ACWS event remaining on the schedule will be in Naples, Italy on April 16-21, after which the teams will focus solely on preparing for the Louis Vuitton Cup (July 4-Aug 30) and the America's Cup Match (Sept 7-21).

The schedule change was primarily due to the desires of the challengers to concentrate on their AC72 training. It was hoped that the New York events would help to grow interest in the America's Cup, but the high administrative costs and the likelihood of the Cup teams needing to send reserves negated the event benefits. The affects of Hurricane Sandy did not factor into the decision.

"We went into New York knowing it was going to cost us a lot of money, but the reasons for going there were too strong to ignore," explained ACEA chief executive officer, Stephen Barclay. "The city offers the biggest sporting audience in the U.S. and would have been a superb fit for our partners. But in the last month or two in our discussions with the Louis Vuitton Cup teams, they have made a strong point that there is only one month before the challenger series starts. We also recognized our own planning, and the last thing we wanted to do was compromise the build up toward the racing in San Francisco."

So will Italy be the end of the AC World Series?

"There have been lots of discussions for continuing the series," shared Barclay. "I think it is fair to say that the sailors have a head of steam regarding this. There are a couple of the sailors that are communicating with the rest of the sailors and driving a desire for the AC Event Authority to look to confirming other AC World Series events immediately after this America's Cup. That desire is shared by the sponsors and most of the teams. So yes, there has been a lot of discussion about the future.

"The status of the discussion is such that no team is against running the AC World Series following the 34th America's Cup. However, a number of the challenging teams are concerned that if they were successful in winning the America's Cup that they would be encumbered with a liability. So if this was to go forward, the challenge for us - Regatta Director Iain Murray, myself, and others - to come up with a mechanism where any immediate future trustee is not encumbered with a liability. That will be the trick and our focus in 2013.

"While participation in the AC World Series was a mandatory condition of the protocol for the 34th America's Cup, the cost to participate for each team was remarkably cheap compared to other circuits around the world. Secondly, the series has provided the team sponsors with unprecedented exposure between each edition of the America's Cup. The third part of the equation is television, especially in the U.S. where there is a lot of money to be earned from television. The ACWS provides an opportunity for the teams to participate in this revenue. So there are plenty of reasons for the series to continue beyond this fall.

"What we have seen more recently is the exciting linkage between the Olympics and the AC World Series. So many great sailors from the Games this summer came straight over, got connected with teams, and immediately had success in the series. The continuation of this format into the future provides an opportunity for these young sailors to segue into an America's Cup career."

Official AC statement: http://www.americascup.com/...on-summer-of-sailing




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