USA-17 trialling off San Diego - will BMW Oracle Racing show San Francisco their transoms later this week?
The last bets are being placed in the final rounds of America's Cup Venue Selection.
Having spent four months in negotiating what the America's Cup Defender, BMW Oracle Racing led by software billionaire, Larry Ellison, described as a 'winning bid', their negotiating team were caught aback when a revised deal was sent through by email, some weeks later.
In turn Ellison's team used some of the negotiating ploys which are notorious in the IT industry.
One of their counter bids was to put a letter responding to City Hall's email, into the public arena ahead of two crucial meetings early this week in San Francisco.
The letter, sent of 10 December to the Mayor, Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco is riddled with stop lights in the way of the direction being pursued by the City's leaders.
'The status as at today is that we do not have an alternative Host City Agreement that stacks up financially for the Event Authority, but the possibility to have one remains available.'
Whoops - aren't we just 20 days out from the deadline of 31 December 2010 set out in the Protocol for the 34th America's Cup?
While the Supes talk of wanting more time to decide what is not not exactly clear. Stephen Barclay, the Chief Operating Officer, and lead negotiator for BMW Oracle Racing counters this one a few paragraphs down the same letter.
'If we do not have San Francisco’s signed bid by not later than close of business on December 17, then the City will be deemed to have withdrawn itself from contention.'
The letter concludes with a very simple clear and direct statement:
'In concluding this letter, it is important that all parties understand the implications of decisions they are about to make.
'The Event Authority wants to bring the America’s Cup match to San Francisco because it believes it will be a fantastic venue with the village embracing the City foreshore and a natural amphitheatre on the Bay.
'To enable this we must ensure the risks and financial arrangements balance and do not put the Event Authority at risk. The negotiated Host City Agreement balanced this equation; the proposed alternative does not. We have offered a mechanism to assist the City/Port resolve its cost issue. Previously this offer has been rejected, yet such is our belief that a deal can to be done which benefits the City, the Event and its stakeholders, we have put forward a final proposal.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (left) listening to BMW Oracle team boss Larry Ellison - San Francisco (USA,CA) USA Victory Tour
'I draw your attention again to the deadline. Unless a signed Host City Agreement is in place by December 17, then San Francisco will have given up the unique opportunity to host the 34th America’s Cup.'
Opening the battle on a few other fronts, BMW Oracle Racing have recommenced negotiations with several other venues, come of which have been named including Italy (Rome), Newport RI and possibly in the Middle East.
The previous US venue for the America's Cup, San Diego, must also be a favoured option - and would mean the Cup did not have to leave the State. San Diego was also the base for BMW Oracle Racing for the final sea trials of USA-17 ahead of the 33rd America's Cup in Valencia, in which their radical wingsailed trimaran defeated the Swiss based Alinghi - twice winner of the oldest and most prestigious Trophy in sailing.
Significantly both New York and San Diego have staged America's Cups in the past, realise the very positive impact that the event and its build up has on a City, and made very direct plays to Host the US Deference during the Victory Tours earlier this year.
Those in the country of a previous America's Cup holder, New Zealand, will also be too well aware of the dangers of the brinkmanship being played out by the Board of Supervisors.
When your bluff gets called, in Event Poker, the end is very quick and irreversible. Never underestimate the power of Event Organisers.
The mention of 'Rugby World Cup 2003' brings back dark memories to New Zealand, a Rugby mad country. In 2002 a joint hosting bid with Australia for the 2003 Rugby World Cup was overtuned, after the New Zealand Rugby Union played cute over an International Rugby Board requirement for 'clean stadiums' - meaning the stadiums had to be devoid of advertising to allow the IRB to manage this space, and collect revenue.
After receiving, and not really taking seriously, letters similar to that which has been sent recently to City Hall, those in the Land of the Long White Cloud, awoke one morning to find that the IRB, in cahoots with the Australian Rugby Union, had cut dear old New Zealand out of the pack, and the 2003 Rugby World Cup was staged in Australia alone.
Maybe that quaint buzzer horn sound that is made at the end of a speaker's time in public meetings in City Hall doubles as a terrain closure warning - an alarm that the Mayor and Supes would do well to heed.
As a footnote, New Zealand will be hosting the Rugby World Cup, next year, having learned their lesson. The upgrade cost of just one of the stadiums for the event is $280million. Compare that with the money that San Francisco is being asked to put up. City Hall have a very cheap deal.
An in a separate study out last week, the economic benefit of the redeveloped Auckland waterfront (triggered from the 2000 and 2003 America's Cups) is put at $4billion.
The America’s Cup pulls media interest like no other sailing event.
21/02/2010 - San Diego (USA,CA) - 33rd America's Cup - BMW ORACLE Racing - USA Victory Tour - Day 3 - Cup in San Diego - Reception at San Diego YC***21/02/2010 - San Diego (USA,CA) - 33rd America's Cup - BMW ORACLE Racing - USA Victory Tour - Day 3 - Cup in San Diego - - Onboard the shcooner America replica- Larry Ellison -Dennis Conner - James Spithill - Reception at San Diego YC