LET’S pack out Portsmouth and make the 2016 America’s Cup World Series the biggest spectacle the city has ever seen.
That’s the call from event bosses as a major package of improvements is unveiled for next summer’s regatta in the Solent featuring Portsmouth-based Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie and international competitors.
No restrictions will be imposed on families bringing in picnics to watch the race action from Southsea Common – which will be a free-to-view area without any boards around it and open to all.
And early-bird tickets for a separate race village packed with activities go on sale today. They are cheaper than those for this year.
Released exclusively to The News by organisers Team Origin, the event – from Thursday, July 21 to Sunday, July 24 – includes:
* Southsea Common to be a non-ticketed visitor zone with no restrictions
In putting together the 2016 plans, we talked to our fans, as to what they wanted to see. The feedback outlined that fans wanted to learn more about the sailing and the teams, the technology, the America’s Cup, how it all works in detail.Team Origin chairman Sir Keith Mills
* A separate ticketed race village around Southsea Castle with a ‘technology zone’ covering the history of the cup, a children’s zone and a market with exhibitions
* A village with sailing team hubs with boat pit lanes where fans can meet sailors before and after the races
* Boats mooring up each morning in front of the race village rather than at the dockyard as fans have said they want to see them before races
* A new ‘sailors lounge’ with a covered sailing club-style sports bar
* The return of air displays and an bigger programme of family activities
* The first day will be set aside for youngsters who want to find out more about getting into sailing
Access to the common is free on all of the days and early-bird tickets are now on sale until December 6 for the race village, from £18 per person for each day.
Early-birds for premier grandstand seats, which include access to the race village, cost £53 a day.
An economic report published today into the benefits of this summer’s regatta – which attracted 207,237 spectators – reveals the event brought £9m to the UK economy and £5.9m was spent by visitors in Portsmouth.
It also details the cash brought to the Portsmouth economy by Ben Ainslie Racing’s base on the Camber.
Team Origin chairman Sir Keith Mills said: ‘This year’s UK spectacle set the standard for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events with nearly quarter of a million people visiting Portsmouth to watch the spectacular racing. Portsmouth again showcased that the city can host world-class sporting events with mass spectator appeal. In putting together the 2016 plans, we talked to our fans, as to what they wanted to see. The feedback outlined that fans wanted to learn more about the sailing and the teams, the technology, the America’s Cup, how it all works in detail. Therefore, we are offering a more compact and content-rich environment bringing the boats and teams to the race village with team display areas and a new Techzone.
‘Fans can see the sailors close-up and engross themselves in the cup atmosphere.’
The Portsmouth Live! music concert at this year’s regatta – which sparked controversy as some spectators went for free while others paid £45 – won’t return after visitors said they were more interested in the racing.
But organisers are working with music venues on a ‘post-event entertainment programme’ for people once they leave each day.
Sir Keith said: ‘The new ticketed race village has expanded in size from 2015, but at a lower entry price point, enabling more fans and spectators to really get involved and enjoy the day out. Book early as this will be the last time fans can support Land Rover BAR in the UK ahead of the Bermuda 2017 America’s Cup – an opportunity not to be missed.’
Early-bird tickets are available from acwsportsmouth.com