Saturday's opening day of the America's Cup Finals saw record numbers at the venues on the Embarcadero and Marina Green as fans onshore and on the water saw spectacular racing on San Francisco Bay.
The competition between challenger Emirates Team New Zealand and defender ORACLE TEAM USA thrilled spectators including Hollywood actors Jeremy Renner and Chris Tucker, who were on the water to witness the racing.
Some 28,500 fans came to the America's Cup Park at Piers 27/29 where gates opened at 10:00am. Early visitors had the opportunity to see the competing AC72s up close and to meet the crews at the 11.15am Dock Out Show.
At the America's Cup Village at Marina Green, another 16,000 fans watched the start line action on the race course which runs along the San Francisco city-front and is defined by the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the Bay Bridge.
"We've already had half a million visitors to the America's Cup during the Summer of Racing," commented America's Cup chief executive Stephen Barclay. "But the first Saturday of the September Showdown was exceptional with nearly 45,000 fans enjoying our attractions and watching the breathtaking racing. We knew it would be pretty special when the best two teams in world sailing lined-up against each for the oldest trophy in international sport and so it proved."
Chris Tucker and Jeremy Renner were right in the thick of the action between the high-speed AC72s raced by the teams. "It's unbelievable what they do," said Renner, whose recent releases have included The Hurt Locker, The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy.
Chris Tucker met Jimmy Spithill's ORACLE TEAM USA crew before the start and although the American team lost both races on Saturday, Tucker was upbeat. "They did a great job. Put me on the back tomorrow!" said the actor/comedian, known for his roles in the Rush Hour movies.
In the U.S., the America’s Cup Finals will be broadcast live on NBC and NBC Sports Network. Replays will be available on the America’s Cup YouTube channel. Saturday’s and Sunday’s racing will be broadcast live nationally on NBC, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm PT.
Internationally, the America’s Cup Final can be viewed in more than 170 territories. All racing is also live on America’s Cup YouTube channel. (subject to territorial restrictions).
You can also follow racing with America’s Cup App for android and iOS devices.
The winner of the 34th America’s Cup will be the first to win 9 points. For the Kiwis that means seven additional race wins and for ORACLE TEAM USA it means 11, due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Racing is scheduled for Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with two races per day scheduled to start at 1:15 and 2:15 pm PT.