Byline: Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Only four foreign challengers have met the deadline to enter the Louis Vuitton Cup next summer, to determine the opponent for the defending U.S. team Oracle Racing in the 34th America’s Cup.
The four teams that are entered as challengers are Sweden’s Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge and Team Korea.
The challengers will compete on San Francisco Bay for the Louis Vuitton Cup July 4-Sept. 1, 2013. The winner will then take on billionaire Larry Ellison’s Oracle Racing team, for the America’s Cup trophy, Sept. 7-22. Ellison’s team won yachting’s most prestigious trophy in 2010, and along with it the right to name the host city for the defense.
Organizers had originally estimated a $1.4 billion economic shot in the arm and 9,000 new jobs when San Francisco was announced as the host city in late 2011. At the time, as many as 14 sailing teams expressed interest in challenging Ellison’s team for the America’s Cup trophy. Organizers now insist the host city can still expect a huge economic boost of about $1 billion and 8,000 new jobs.
Organizers said they knew the numbers would shake out from the original list of 14 challengers from around the globe.
Stephen Barclay, chief executive of the America’s Cup race, laid much of the blame for the low turnout on the world’s fragile economy. Competing teams can spend more than $100 million to construct and race the space-age 72-foot multihull boats.
The team from South Korea ponied up a $200,000 entry fee before the July 30 deadline, but it is the only team not to start construction on its boat, fueling speculation of another dropout.
The catamarans will race just off the city’s northern waterfront, in between famed tourist attractions Alcatraz Island and Fisherman’s Wharf, giving the expected millions of spectators the closest-ever look at an America’s Cup competition. Historically, the races have been held many miles from shore.