Russell Coutts, the CEO of ORACLE TEAM USA, has been interviewed in SportsPro Media about the highs and lows of the 34th America’s Cup and, importantly, on what happens next.
Below is his answer to one of the questions. The full interview, by SportsPro Media’s David Cushnan can be found here.
Q: As you were running ORACLE TEAM USA, how easy was it to separate yourself from what you were doing as a team and take an overview of how the event was going and how it was being perceived around the world?
Russell Coutts: Challenging – we obviously wanted the event to be successful. Deep down inside, I knew it would be successful once we got over the hurdles. I was saying before the final that I thought it was shaping up to become a great final between two very equal teams and, at the end of the day, that’s what people want to see.
The platform was spectacular, the boats were spectacular and the course area was close to perfect, in many ways, with fans being able to watch the racing close up and the spectacular backdrop. All of that was great. We just needed good competition between the teams, so as we look to the future that’s obviously the first key thing to address: we’re already in discussions with some of those potential teams.
We really want to increase the number of competitive teams. Past America’s Cups – I think the record was 13 teams, but I think only three or four were really competitive. We think the final this time showed that when you have competitive teams and compelling racing, that’s really what people want to see and what the athletes want as well – a competitive environment where you get lead changes and that suspense, which is such a great thing in sports where you’re never really certain of the outcome. That’s what we want to move towards: a group of competitive teams – whether that’s six or we can stretch it to, say, ten, in the next cycle, that’s the work that’s going on at the moment.