A SERIES of world-class yacht races in Portsmouth will attract thousands of spectators and bring millions to the local economy.
It is due to be announced today that America’s Cup racing will return to British waters when the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) takes place in the city in July 2015 and 2016.
The ACWS is a series of regattas which sees racing teams compete to set their placement in the eventual America’s Cup events in 2017. Around 160,000 people are expected to descend upon Portsmouth to watch each regatta. And when a similar event took place in Plymouth in 2011, it raised £60m for the city’s economy.
Sir Keith Mills, a British entrepreneur whose company Team Origin will manage the events, said: ‘This will not just be a spectacular sporting event, it will also showcase Portsmouth, the south coast and Great Britain on a global stage, delivering economic benefit to the city and the sponsors involved.
‘The series will attract huge crowds to watch the exhilarating racing and we plan to give the event a festival feel, bringing activities and entertainment for all.’
Spectators in Portsmouth will enjoy three days of racing, including practice sessions on Friday, July 24, and then two races on Saturday and Sunday.
Organisers say they will be searching for firms across the area to supply materials and support for the event, hopefully pumping millions into the city’s economy.
The official race village for the events will be based on Southsea Common, but there will be extensions of the festivities across the naval base, Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays
Donna Jones, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘This is an incredible opportunity, which offers a massive boost to the local economy with thousands of visitors expected each day.
‘The spotlight will be on Portsmouth.
‘Residents can feel proud their city is playing a part in such a historic event.
‘As the home of Ben Ainslie Racing HQ, we’ll be wishing them the very best of luck to bring the cup back to Britain.
‘The city will be the perfect host as visitors and residents have front row seats.’
The events are being funded by a mixture of private investment, sponsorship, suppliers and media partnerships.
Sir Ben Ainslie, whose team will be the British challenger for the America’s Cup and will be based in Portsmouth, said: ‘We promise to provide an event experience like you have never seen before. Come and cheer us on.’
The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in world sport, and Britain has never won it.
To read a full Q&A with Sir Ben Ainslie about the America’s Cup World Series click here.