For $999, you can watch sailing, on public land

Did SF get kicked in the balls, or what?

Here's the deal of a lifetime: For $999, you can get a ticket to watch the America's Cup races. From beachers built on public land. Where the non-wealthy public won't be allowed.

The America's Cup Event Authority, run by Larry Ellison, who is the third-richest person in the world, has sent out an email soliciting buyers for this special early deal: Buy now, and you will be guaranteed a "reserved section in a preferred area of the bleachers," as well as exclusive access to parties and events, and a chance to get your picture taken with the Cup.

Which, by the way, is having trouble raising money -- and could leave the city on the hook for as much as $20 million. Which loudmouth critics like Aaron Peskin and Chris Daly warned about from the start. So we've gone from the races being a huge economic boon, worth billions to the city, to poor Mark Buell, who has to ask people to give money to underwrite Larry Ellison's yacht party, saying that even if the city loses money, it will still all be worth it.

Those poor San Francisco plebians who don't have $1,000 will be able to see the races, but Ellison's team recommends spending the cash, now: "There will be a section of free-view bleachers," the Event Authority's Ryan Carroll told me. "But those seats will be limited, and we expect them to fill up quickly."

And there may still be some cheaper seats coming; tickets for individual races will go on sale later, and seats at the prelims in June might not cost as much, Carroll said.

Other areas for public waterfront viewing "will be congested," he said.

Jane Sullivan, marketing director for the America's Cup Organizing Committee (which is the city's operation, separate and distinct from Ellison's), said it's not neccessary to give Ellison a thousand bucks to see the sailboats whip by at 50 miles an hour: "The entire waterfront will not be filled up and congested," she said. "There will be ample and lovely free viewing of all the races."

So let me sum this up: The taxpayers spend $20 million underwriting Ellison's race. Then Ellison's team wants us to pay him $999 for the right to sit on a bench on public land and watch. Who does this gentleman think he is? (Oh right: He's Larry Fucking Ellison.)



And on what planet do you care who does?

Yacht races will be manna for the hoi polloi about the same time as golf and formual one racing will be - never.

Oh and ski-ing - in 20 years on the slopes, I can count the number of black skiers I've seen on one hand.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 11, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

On TV. It's so quiet and soothing. And I have been known to play, with my $20 yard-sale clubs, at Golden Gate Park, where I can usually make a par 3 hole in 11 strokes. 


Posted by tim on Feb. 11, 2013 @ 4:53 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 11, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

Here's another great deal: For $95 per day General Admission or for $210 per day VIP Admission , you can get a ticket to watch the Outside Lands 3-day concert in Golden Gate Park. From grassy areas on public land. Where the non-wealthy public won't be allowed. Is there really a difference? Sure, cost, price, scale - but bottom line, charging for access to public land for a special event.

It's one thing to raise the issue of lack of fund raising, which is a real issue; it is quite another to pile on about bleacher tickets priced at $999. Get some context. The shoreline can accommodate all the non-paying public and then some. Many of this group would not pay $99 let alone $999 for bleacher seats, and would still happily participate in the event.

Larry Fucking Ellison is bringing the America's Cup to the US and to San Francisco. That's fucking awesome.

Posted by FunFreeZone on Feb. 11, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

This whole idea that you shouldn't have paid seating on public land is a joke. Ever gone to a Grand Prix race event? Most of the seating has differing price tags and it's all on public land. Done properly it raises money to support the event and the sponsor city. I should think California of all places would welcome dipping into the pockets of rich people.

Posted by Jon on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 5:45 am

The Chron reports that the city will probably be on the hook for $20 million now that interest in this race has waned (only 3 teams are competing).

And The Billiionaire Ellison cannot pony up that $20 million?

There should be a public effort to shame him.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 6:20 am

I really don't want to have to watch sailing with poor people, and I shouldn't have to.

Posted by Chromefields on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 10:30 am

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Posted by best online casino on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 10:47 am

There are 6 months to raise $20 million. Why a journalist would sum up with the conclusion that tax payers will foot the bill is questionable. Just the facts please. Raise concern now and report back in September but no, it's not a fact that tax payers will foot the bill.

It's ludicrous to protest paid seating public land. Even the Chinese New Year parade charges for bleacher seats. The list of events on public land that come at a cost to tax payers is long. No indignation for the non-wealthy though when the event and the price is right (never heard anyone suggest the GG Park homeless should have free access to the Stevie Wonder concert at Outside Lands) . Absolutely the city has a responsibility to balance the cost with the revenue opportunity. Focus on that.

Oy bidding for the Olympics in SF will bring out all the armchair critics.

Posted by Fred on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

Agreed, they are charging for seating a event, yes the seats are on public land but may other events are. Are they expensive seats? Maybe, depends on how fast they sell, if they sell fast then they were probably cheap, and they should have charged more to gain more revenue.
The fact remains that having the cup here in sanfrancisco is a cool thing even if it is not everybody's cup of tea.
For the guy who critcized formula One Racing, you should try watching it. It sure beats watching cars go round and around an oval for hours.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

Well first off, there are many events on public land that we have to pay to see, so paying for a seat is nothing new. And yes the city did agree to support the event and pay for costs, just like other events in the city (could make a long list here). So in general, this is nothing new, but the total cost and scope are on the extreme side.

People in general hate sailing or at least have no interest in it. They also think it is a 'rich man’s' sport. In fact it is no more than any other sport that requires special equipment. A small sailboat, that many young sailor use, costs no more than a full set of good skies or a good bike ($1500). The next level up cost more, like a car ($50,000). Now in the pro level of sailing, it is in line with NASCAR or Indy/F1. There are many sailboat races every week and no city funds are used to put them on. The AC is an international level event and requires more planning and facilities. It cost money to put it on…

How much does the city pay to host a Super Bowl? Or a World Series? The AC is an event that last months so the cost is higher, think Super Bowl every week for a month. So to whine about it is just non-sailors complaining about spending money on something they don't like. Did the city make a deal based on overly-rosy projection? Yes, but the city makes deals on a lot of such deals and you don't see a line of people complaining about them.

Posted by PC on Feb. 13, 2013 @ 9:51 am

It gets even better. Those of us with our own or chartered boats watching from the water will have to deal with a section cordoned off for Larry's buddies with mega-yachts who will enjoy the best views from the waterside. The mega-yachts are multi-story behemoths. Might be more fun to go camping in Yosemite and rent the place in the city to visitors.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 13, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

Big surprise that the uber dealer, Mark Buell (married to Susie Tompkins, Esprit fame)
can't deliver on his promises. This is the same man that mowed over sacred Indian burial mounds in Emeryville for that hideous mall next to Ikea. He has no heart, no soul and certainly no integrity... money can't buy you those things, MB. What will your grandkids think when they figure out who you are behind your vanity and fancy clothes?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2013 @ 9:56 am

Hi, thanks for sharing

Posted by card on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

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