SAN DIEGO -- The next America's Cup could be sailed off a Hawaiian beach, on San Diego Bay or in some other port instead of returning to a San Francisco Bay course bordered by the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.
Russell Coutts, the CEO of America's Cup champion Oracle Team USA, said Saturday that sailing officials are talking with other venues about hosting the 35th America's Cup in August 2017 because San Francisco officials haven't offered the same terms as they did for last summer's regatta, which ended with the American syndicate staging one of the greatest comebacks in sports.
Coutts, a five-time America's Cup winner, said he's not prepared to rule out San Francisco as host of the next regatta. "They might have a change of heart. I don't think they will, but they might," Coutts said by phone from France. He is in Europe talking to potential sponsors.
Asked about the level of dissatisfaction by Larry Ellison, the software billionaire who owns Oracle Team USA, with San Francisco, Coutts said Ellison hasn't been involved with talks.
"It's safe to say I'm not happy," Coutts said. "It was a fantastic event in San Francisco. I don't think anyone disputes that. The TV images were great. But we could go to another venue and have great racing. As we've gone into the process, it's pretty evident there are some really strong venues. They might end up being better than San Francisco. Not by any means am I saying this is a bad result. This actually could turn out to be a good thing for the America's Cup."
While last summer's regatta gave the event a remarkable adrenaline rush, it generated less economic impact in the Bay Area than projected and cost city taxpayers more than $5 million.
Coutts declined to be specific about why he finds San Francisco's offer unacceptable.
In an email to the AP, Gloria Chan of San Francisco's Office of Economic and Workforce Development said: "We continue to have productive discussions with the AC team about the AC35 in SF. Like the City, we know they are taking a thoughtful approach and performing due diligence on potential AC35 and AC World Series event locations."
Coutts stressed that no decisions have been made on a venue. He said Oracle Team USA representatives still need to visit prospective venues -- including Hawaii -- to check out potential racing sites.