Why am I wildly enthusiastic about San Francisco hosting the 2013 America’s Cup sailing race? This is a golden opportunity to leverage our region’s resources to generate much needed revenue for our city and create jobs!
The Bay Area and California economies could net multiple billions of dollars, according to various financial estimates. Not too shabby for a region with record joblessness and local governments staggering under historic budget deficits. This exciting event will showcase San Francisco on the global stage and benefit The City in multiple ways for years to come.
Despite our massive local jobs and infrastructure-improvement windfall, there will be plenty of sign-waving protesters and naysayers who will perform their usual antics whenever anything new and interesting is ever proposed in The City. But let’s examine the incredible benefits we’ll enjoy.
Jobs. More than 8,500 local jobs and $1.4 billion of new economic activity, and a total infusion of $1.9 billion and 12,000 jobs statewide will be generated by the America’s Cup, according to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute and Beacon Economics study.
Infrastructure improvements. The long-overdue repair, improvement and productive reuse of The City’s decrepit piers along the central and southern waterfront will be the impetus for many other exciting new projects on the caliber of the Ferry Building. Fruitful employment for our citizens and commerce that generates tax revenues benefiting our general fund will result. There is no other viable plan to pay for this much-needed work!
Tourism. An influx of 5 million tourists is estimated over the course of the multiple events leading up to the America’s Cup, and during the race itself. These visitors will surely spend millions on goods and services while in San Francisco. They’ll go back home to tell others about the great experiences they had here, and quite possibly return themselves.
National pride. The America’s Cup is the only major international sporting event coming to the USA this decade. The whole world will be watching our glorious Bay Area, thanks to the global press corps and countless cameras broadcasting to the four corners of the Earth. This will produce a welcome tourism bump for us for the next several decades. One study by the insurance firm Allianz puts the downstream economic value at $4.5 billion in tourism, tech and other corporate activity.
A billion here, a billion there … all adding up to a major community benefit for San Francisco. As Mayor Ed Lee has said, hosting the America’s Cup is like having 10 World Series come to our city, and it’s the first major international sporting event to be hosted by the USA since the Salt Lake City Olympics. Even for those of us who live here and don’t rent out our homes to tourists for a king’s ransom, the America’s Cup is going to bring great benefit to our city. How fortunate we are. This is surely one show that must go on!
Marc Intermaggio is executive vice president of BOMA, San Francisco’s Building Owners and Managers Association.