The team behind the push for the Gold Coast to host the Grand Finale of the America¹s Cup preliminary circuit in February 2017 met with Gold Coast City Council, state government, Gold Coast Waterways Authority, Queensland Events, Yachting Australia, tourism, marine industry representatives and other stakeholders to discuss the requirements of being an official host city.
It was unanimously agreed that the Louis Vuitton America¹s Cup World Series represents a massive opportunity for the Gold Coast and Queensland, both economically and culturally, to be a part of this high-profile sporting event that has a cumulative global TV audience of close to 1 billion.
In a closed and confidential meeting, the parties referred to official documentation supplied by the America¹s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) and broached challenges such course design and logistics, budgets, timeframes and total investment compared with anticipated Return on Investment.
Legendary Australian sailor and America¹s Cup Regatta Director, Iain Murray fielded questions and provided an overview of the World Series circuit and its significance to a host city.
"I am 100 percent behind the Gold Coast bid," he said. "You have the ideal venue, the ideal conditions and so many of the sailors racing on all six teams are Australian. Jimmy Spithill, the skipper of the Defender, ORACLE Team USA is an Aussie, ORACLE crew member, Ky Hurst is from the Gold Coast. Three out of the six skippers are Aussies! It would be a great home-coming for them."
The proposed Grand Finale event would be held in February 2017, when wind conditions and weather are ideal for this form of stadium racing involving the AC45 foiling catamarans which travel at up to 80kms/h close to three times windspeed.
Spectators are so close to the on-water action they can see the sailors¹ expressions and hear every creak and groan of these phenomenal vessels.
The Race Village would occupy the Broadwater Parklands and become the epicentre of entertainment and enjoyment, where visitors can literally rub shoulders with the sailing teams, get hands-on and experience of sailing, savour the excitement as performers and presenters create a buzz that is equal to the exhilarating on-water competition.
Anticipated benefits of hosting the final event in the America's Cup preliminaries include a significant boost to the economy from high-net worth tourism, investment and sponsorship, as well as securing the global media spotlight for several months in the lead up to the event and during the four-day festival particularly valuable ahead of the Gold Coast hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
"The Gold Coast is a water city with a 'can do' attitude," said Mayor Tom Tate. "We have proven that with the X-Cats and numerous other high profile international events over the years. When Gold Coasters get together, nothing can stop us. Let's get this event for the Gold Coast!"
State government and Council will examine the ACEA documents to determine the potential value to the region, format and event management, while Gold Coast Waterways Authority will work with initial drafts provided by Iain Murray on course design and logistics.