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USA's comeback renews interest in America's Cup

  • Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA after the fifth race of the America's Cup sailing event Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, in San Francisco. Emirates Team New Zealand won the race. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO — Just a month ago, the America's Cup "village" along San Francisco's waterfront had few visitors.

Its trendy, temporary bars often had more staff than patrons and retail workers at souvenir shops stood behind silent cash registers as sailing's most prestigious competition got off to a desultory start with single-competitor "races" that drew little interest.

Then Oracle Team USA launched one of the greatest comebacks in the sport's history. On Wednesday, tens of thousands of fans are expected to line up along the city's waterfront and find vantage points from the city's many hills to watch the winner-take-all final race.

Economists say the event will still fall far short of the $1.4 billion economic boon first predicted, but that the America's Cup will still end up an economic success because of the extra days of racing and excitement the Oracle team's comeback has brought the region. There's a chance the final race could be postponed Wednesday because of light winds. But that would benefit the area economically.

"Every day that this goes on is a good thing for the city," said Sean Randolph, chief executive of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. "Aside from the economic benefits, there are incalculable benefits that the city gets from all of this exposure."


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