Sailing’s biggest race is done and now Bermuda has to figure out what to do with the structure it built for the race.
The big event, the America’s Cup, has left the King’s Wharf Dockyard in Bermuda and now it is time for the British territory in the Atlantic Ocean off the American east coast to assess whether it was worth investing millions upon millions of Bermuda dollars to get the sailing race. The economists, who will be hired by the government will more than likely say this. The event was successful and could eventually bring back all of the money that was used to make this a proud time for Bermuda. There will more than likely never be an accurate count of economic benefit to the island but the British territory will have exposure globally and that is an intangible that is hard to measure.
Did local businesses benefit? Hard to say although talking to people at some local businesses on Front Street, Hamilton’s glitzy street, there seemed to be less business during the first two weeks of the event than normal May commerce. The same held true at the mall not far from the race course. That mall’s livelihood is dependent on cruise ships, it didn’t appear the local restaurants were more crowded either. But Bermuda isn’t looking for average travelers. The curator of the MasterWorks art museum didn’t notice much of a change in the number of visitors but he did notice that the May-June visitors were of a higher income and were high end of money tourists. That is what Bermuda officials want. They are hoping that the big money people who competed in the sailing race and those who attended the race watching from expensive yachts and those who stayed at area hotels and paid $150 a ticket to see parts of the race will return and fill the high-end resorts that are being built. They also want another race but New Zealand is in line for the next one. Bermuda took a big gamble on the America’s Cup pursuing big money tourists.
Governments tend to give owners money to help pay for their sports business with no plan to recover the investment.