America's Cup Bid
Would Reap Rewards

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (03/01/97)
By Ray Pendleton

Hardly a week goes by that the funding of a new plan to attract more visitors to Hawai`i doesn't make the news.

Accordingly, I am quite sure the folks at the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau spend most of their waking hours trying to think of new and better ways to focus the world's attention on Hawaii's tropical attributes.

During a recent conversation with Jim Bailey and Daisy Jean Cathcart of Aloha Racing - Waikiki Yacht Club's America's Cup challenge team - I discovered two people involved in a project that should be funded by the HVCB. They are telling any and all potential investors that Hawai`i is the best venue in the world for sailing.

For a serious America's Cup challenge effort, the cost is estimated to be about $30 million, so initially Aloha Racing's biggest challenge is to attract investors.

To do so, Bailey and Cathcart have been speaking to business people throughout the U.S. about the advertising potential brought with an investment in their America's Cup syndicate. They also have been praising Hawai`i as the best venue in the world for future America's Cup races, provided the team can successfully win the cup back from New Zealand three years from now.

Just a glance at an Aloha Racing brochure brings HVCB efforts to mind. Along with offering investors many financial reasons to join the team, the physical and emotional appeal of Hawai`i is also stressed.

"A sponsorship of Aloha Racing means being a part of the only America's Cup team whose goal is to bring the Cup to the paradise of the Hawaiian Islands. Simply put, everybody loves Hawai`i! No other team can associate itself with a place, person or thing regarded so positively by so many people. The result? More press coverage and more positive association than can be provided by any other America's Cup team," it states boldly.

With Aloha Racing's goal to bring the America's Cup back to Hawai`i, it is exciting to hear from Cathcart what the economic impact of hosting the race in 2003 would mean to our state.

"When Australia hosted the America's Cup defense off Fremantle in 1987, they estimated their revenues at $909 million," Cathcart said. "When the Cup was won back by the U.S. and San Diego hosted the race in 1992, the revenues went up to $1.2 billion. Estimates are that Auckland will see perhaps $1.8 billion in revenue in 2000, and if Aloha Racing is successful, Hawaii could expect to see $2 billion or more.

"In 1988, when there was thought to be a chance of Hawai`i hosting an America's Cup challenge," Cathcart continued, "the potential impact predicted was: a 2.5 million visitor-day increase, $830 million in visitor expenditures, $270 million in facilities construction expenditures by the syndicates, $145 million in equipment and operating expenditures, and $70 million in general syndicate expenditures. By 2003, the numbers are sure to increase."

Also understand, any facilities constructed by visiting syndicates would remain as assets for Hawaii's maritime community.

A huge increase in worldwide media attention is another aspect of the potential impact an America's Cup challenge would have on Hawaii. ESPN consistently provides over 100 hours of television coverage to the races and has estimated its audience in 1992 at 44.6 million viewers. An additional 3,000 international journalists would also record the event and their island impressions as well.

Aloha Racing's brochure ends saying, "The team's interpretation of Aloha Spirit will also be carried through graphically on its boats, its crew, at its shore base, retail store and all official team merchandise. It's Aloha Spirit ... America's Cup style."

Hawai`i Marine Reporter