By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
How do you measure success?
Can it be summed up with mathematical figures and other numbers speaking to a designated event’s popularity? Can a positive outcome today project even better future earnings?
Yes … and no, say local business leaders who are watching and waiting to see how the recently concluded America’s Cup World Series Event in Newport will add up in immediate and future economic benefits, as well as what it will do to help the state recapture its once world-famous sail-racing-destination status.
“How in the end it will impact everything … it will be hard to tell,” said Jodi Sullivan, executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. Still, “this is really a strategic business opportunity to showcase Rhode Island to the world.”
The last stop of the America’s Cup World Series set sail June 23 in the city, when the “village” at Fort Adams, which the state has set up as a race-viewing location, opened with pre-event activities.
It’s the first time an America’s Cup event has been in Newport since 1983, when the New York Yacht Club’s loss to the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Australia sent the race out of town for the first time since the 1930s. The outcome ended what was arguably the longest winning streak in sports history and, in the minds of many, squashed the city’s reputation as the premier spot for sail racing.
For the current event, Rhode Island has invested time and manpower, as well as money, to showcase Newport’s hosting capabilities, including completing $1.3 million worth of infrastructure upgrades at Fort Adams and establishing a 30-member America’s Cup host committee that has worked to, among other things, market the event.
“We want the fans, the racers, the sponsors and the media who come here to say this was a great world tour, but Newport did it the best,” said Evan Smith, executive director of Discover Newport and host committee member. “In order to do that, they need to get a sense that Rhode Island, and Newport, is pumped about this.”
The America’s Cup World Series is a brand-new race match series that the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), defending the 2010 Cup, and BMW Oracle Racing, its syndicate representative, announced in September 2010 would precede the America’s Cup 2013 and other pre-Cup challenges.