Barclay: Half a million… and counting

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I was fortunate to attend the official Louis Vuitton Cup prize-giving on Monday evening. A glorious ceremony honoring the two teams that battled out the final: Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge.

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This year was special for the Louis Vuitton Cup – it celebrated a 30 year association with the America’s Cup. It is the longest partnership of this kind in sports. There have been eight winners of the Louis Vuitton Cup, representing four countries. Emirates Team New Zealand has now won the Louis Vuitton Cup three times, and Luna Rossa once. Four Louis Vuitton Cup winners have gone on to win the America’s Cup – will the Emirates Team New Zealand make it five?

The conclusion of the Louis Vuitton Cup provides a short break before the action starts again and is a good time to reflect on the activities since the July 4th opening ceremony.

Over half a million people have visited America’s Cup Park (Piers 27/29) and America’s Cup Village (Marina Green) during this seven week period. Countless more have watched from other official sites like Pier 39 rooftop lounge, SS Jeremiah O’Brien and vantage points around the Bay, including the offices, hotels and homes on the San Francisco waterfront.

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More than 4,500 on-water spectator boats have made the journey out to the race track. We thank the Coast Guard and on-water volunteers from the yacht clubs around the Bay for assisting us with the orderly conduct of the races.

About 170 territories around the world are taking the award-winning TV broadcast.

Around 850 volunteers are assisting deliver the 34th America’s Cup. We salute them: quite simply, the event would be impossible to hold without them.

In an America’s Cup of so many firsts, one of the special features has been the Concert Series in America’s Cup Pavilion. To date we have had 12 concerts. Imagine Dragons and Sting got the concert series off to a great start and who can forget Nicola Benedetti’s violin with the San Francisco Symphony performing Tchaikovsky?

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We now count down to the climax, the September Showdown. We start the action on Sunday, September 1st with the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Ten teams of 19-24 year olds representing eight nations go at it in the AC45s. Four days of racing until the winner of the inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup emerges. The scouts are in town to eye the talent and you can bet a few of them will end up on America’s Cup teams for the 35th America’s Cup.

On Saturday September 7th the September Showdown for one of the most iconic prizes in sport commences: Oracle Team USA vs. Emirates Team New Zealand. By the end of that weekend I predict it will be a lot clearer who is favorite to win.

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The September Showdown for the America’s Cup has two races per day every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday until one team scores 9 points.

We’ve achieved a lot over the past seven weeks and whetted the appetite for what lies ahead.  More super yachts are arriving, more visitors are coming.  It’s shaping up to be a fantastic final four weeks in San Francisco.

Stephen Barclay
CEO, America’s Cup Event Authority
@stephenjbarclay