MORE than 130,000 people went to Southsea to see Sir Ben Ainslie in action over the America’s Cup weekend.
Official figures released today showed the popularity of the event, which was held in Portsmouth for the second year running.
Organisers say feedback from residents, visiting fans, exhibitors, competing teams and commercial partners has deemed the event a huge success.
The four-day show, with three days open to public and one preview day, in the paid-ticketed Race Village, attracted 36,234 people.
Entertainment included interactive family attractions, a live stage show with appearances from the six America’s Cup sailing stars, daily spectacular aerial displays plus the best views of the America’s Cup action.
On the water an armada of over 3,000 supporting vessels and an estimated 34,927 on water spectators lined the race course to watch the racing unfold – and see Sir Ben’s team Land Rover BAR take victory.
On land outside of the Race Village more than 60,000 fans enjoyed the spectacle from along the seafront and sites in and around Portsmouth.
Sir Keith Mills, chairman, Teamorigin Events, the host organisers of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth, said: ‘This has been a remarkable event with spectators witnessing outstanding action on the water.
‘Major sporting events have the power to regenerate areas, boost economic output and are hugely positive for sport itself and I’m therefore delighted to have had the opportunity to bring the America’s Cup and the world’s best sailors to Britain.
‘We are proud to have hosted the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth for consecutive years and we would like to thank all the spectators for coming out and supporting the event - they created a unique atmosphere and made the event a great spectacle.’
Two years ago Land Rover BAR did not exist and now we are beating established teams, we have an incredible state-of-the-art base in Portsmouth and over 130,000 people turning out to cheer us on at our home regatta.Sir Ben Ainslie, team principle and skipper, Land Rover BAR
For British fans this was the last chance to support Sir Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR team on home waters before next year’s America’s Cup in Bermuda and they made their voices heard as they supported the team to victory from on land and on water.
Sir Ben Ainslie, team principal and skipper, Land Rover BAR said: ‘It’s brilliant for us as the home team to win again in front of our home crowd.
‘Personally, it was a special moment in my sailing career and I have never seen crowds like that at a sailing event.
‘The amount of people that came out on the water, on the shore line and in the Race Village to support the event completely blew us away.
‘It meant a huge amount to us to perform well in front of our home crowd and I cannot tell you how proud I am of the team that we have got as far as we have in the space of time we have had.
‘Two years ago Land Rover BAR did not exist and now we are beating established teams, we have an incredible state-of-the-art base in Portsmouth and over 130,000 people turning out to cheer us on at our home regatta.
‘The event was an incredible success with great racing and a great atmosphere and one can imagine what it would be like if we were able to win the actual America’s Cup next June in Bermuda and bring it home to Great Britain for the first time since 1851.’
The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series action now moves on to Toulon, France in September, followed by Fukuoka, Japan in November before the final of the America’s Cup in Bermuda next year.
Council leader welcomes benefits
Council leader Donna Jones welcomed the benefits to Portsmouth.
Cllr Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘The city has hosted an exceptional event and with temperatures soaring teams and visitors were given the warmest welcome.
‘Land Rover BAR has made Portsmouth their home and it’s fantastic to see so many spectators get behind the home team.
‘We recognise the positive impact events of this kind have and supporting associated businesses because the long-term regeneration benefits are massive.
‘High profile events such as the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series showcase what an amazing city Portsmouth is and why we’re alongside other international locations hosting this event. Residents should quite rightly feel proud of their city.’
Total of people who watched the event over the four days - 133,763
* 36,234: inside The Race Village over the four days
* 62,602: engaged outside of Race Village
* 34,927: spectators on water (3,071 boats on water)