Details leaking out on next America's Cup 

Details about what Oracle Corp.’s Larry Ellison has in mind for the next America’s Cup sailing race are slowly trickling out. 

San Francisco leaders have been lobbying Ellison to bring the cup race to the Bay Area. Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing team won the America’s Cup in a one-on-one race against Swiss team and cup defender Alinghi in February, The City must prove it has a viable venue, but the needs of that venue are dependent on exactly what kind of race the next America’s Cup will be – decisions the winner gets to make as the defending champion.

In an interview in February with Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky, Ellison outlined some of his ideas for what the next race may hold.
He made it clear he hopes to make the event much more widely broadcast than previous America’s Cups, making it “a more attractive TV sport so we can sell TV contracts,” perhaps with a network or ESPN.

“We’ve got to attract a fan base. We have to make it interesting. We have to have interesting commentators. When the NFL put in that yellow first down line on the field, it gave the fan a little more insight as to what was going on during the play,” he said.

Ellison also said he wanted to make the sport more affordable for teams who don’t have billionaires for backers, perhaps limiting the size of the boats so they’re cheaper to build – perhaps $5 million. He added that even though he prefers sailing single-hulled boats, he’d be open to making the event for a multihulled boat because “kids” find it more exciting to watch.

Paige Brooks, who helped organize a mixer intended to galvanize support for the race coming to San Francisco Thursday night, reiterated what has become mantra for Bay Area enthusiasts: that the San Francisco Bay would be the perfect venue for such a venture because it’s a natural amphitheater and would attract millions who could see it right from their homes or neighborhoods.

She said a cup in San Francisco would also make for an exceptional television viewing experience.

“Why San Francisco offers an advantage is it’s aesthetically beautiful, with the headlands and the islands in the middle of the Bay,” she said. “With so many hopes that overlook the bay, people can watch it out of their windows and at the same time watch it online.”

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Katie Worth

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