Despite two years of media, marketing, and communications missteps from the AC organization, the AC Finals indeed showed the foiling cat route can be a compelling one. Sailors were almost universally blown away by the images and story behind Oracle’s comeback in San Francisco Bay, but most of the world either didn’t know about it, or didn’t buy into it.
It’s going to be a long, long road to the kind of mass market acceptance the Oracle of Oracle claims as his goal for the sport, especially if even the most digital of American publications – like massive internet news site Slate – don’t get on board. Here’s what Slate Exec. Editor Josh Levin had to say about AC34; hit the comments section or email Josh directly to say your piece:
When Oracle CEO Larry Ellison won the Cup in 2010, he decided that the sport needed to be faster and more exciting. He conjured a new kind of vessel that was outrageously expensive to construct, limiting the competition to whoever’s richer than the people who own private islands. (Because of course the biggest problem with sailing is that it’s too accessible to outsiders.) Imagine the owner of the Miami Heat decreeing, after his team hoisted the championship trophy, that basketball should be played on a diamond-studded trampoline with a ball shaped like a starfish. To the victor go the spoils, and the spoils are really weird and cost so much that almost nobody else can afford to play.
This was the background to the 2013 America’s Cup, which was shaping up to be the most unlikable sporting event since whenever Donald Trump last played a round of golf. And yet, somehow, this BattleBoats for billionaires was kind of great. Yes, Team USA barely had any Americans, and they kind of cheated, which led to them starting the best-of-17 contest with negative two points. (Negative two!) And Emirates Team New Zealand would have—should have—won the Cup if not for the absurd, unfair 40-minute time limit on races that robbed them of the decisive victory with the finish line in sight.