SAN FRANCISCO -- Drenched with victory champagne, Larry Ellison -- the elusive billionaire owner of Oracle Team USA who helped orchestrate its historic comeback Wednesday -- stood on the America's Cup stage in front of thousands of newfound fans and pumped the silver trophy three times high in the air.

After coming back from the brink of defeat against Emirates Team New Zealand, not to mention overcoming months of public cynicism in San Francisco, Ellison's team successfully fended off the Kiwis and defended the trophy it won in 2010. Now the question remains: Will he keep the next America's Cup regatta in San Francisco when it comes around again in the next few years or take it elsewhere?

"The cup could be around the island of Lanai!" Ellison joked with reporters, referring to the Hawaiian island he recently purchased.

Seriously, though, he said he would love to come back to San Francisco, despite all the personal attacks that he said he "didn't take personally."

"It's a beautiful place to have a regatta. But we're going to sit down with the officials in San Francisco and see if it is possible to come back," he said. "Personally, I'd love to come back."

Ellison's America's Cup had been ridiculed for months, as far fewer teams participated than were promised and many Americans rooted for the Kiwis instead. But over the past week, as Ellison's team crawled from an 8-1 deficit to win the cup, his early vision -- to change the America's Cup into an extreme sport with 72-foot, high-tech catamarans instead of traditional monohulls -- was finally realized.


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"This regatta was the most magnificent spectacle I've ever see on the water," he said. "We tried to make sailing a bit more extreme, a bit more friendly for the viewing audience."

Throughout the regatta that started July 4 with a challenger series, Ellison remained out of the public eye. His only sightings were on chase boats in the San Francisco Bay on race days, hunkered down under an Oracle ball cap and zipped-up jacket. But on Wednesday, he took center stage. In the end, he said, he considers his event a great success.

"This regatta," he said, "has changed sailing forever."

Contact Julia Prodis Sulek at 408-278-3409.