BAR update

Mark Lloyd / Ben Ainslie Racing
Ben Ainslie contemplates Bermuda and fundraising
Progress at Ben Ainslie Racing continues apace – as if it wasn’t before – but in a more focussed way on the commercial side following the recent confirmation that the 35th America’s Cup is to be held in 2017 in Bermuda. For the teams that require commercial funding for their campaigns - in particular BAR, Emirates Team New Zealand and Team France - the announcement of Bermuda over San Diego was not great news. Opportunities to provide sponsors with a return on their investment in the remote mid-Atlantic island are more limited than if a mainland USA venue like San Diego had been chosen. Prior to the announcement the Kiwis were the most vocal in expressing this view. Fortunately for Ainslie’s British America’s Cup challenge, Bermuda holds a number of redeeming features. Firstly it is a ‘British Overseas Territory’, so even though there is a strong US influence on the island, Ben Ainslie Racing will effectively be the home team. Bermuda is also geographically much closer to Europe – which will be good news for BAR, along with Luna Rossa and Team France, if the latter is going to happen – we were expecting confirmation by now, so this doesn’t bode well - as it will make for less painful (and costly) logistics. More importantly it will mean that racing can be broadcast live in a late afternoon/early evening slot in Europe. Ainslie also points out that Bermuda is far from a commercial right-off for his team as a lot of international British firms are headquartered there. “I’m sure there will be a lot of challenges there, but they have to be overcome.” Ainslie admits that he hasn’t sailed very much in San Diego, but he is much more familiar with Bermuda – match racing, he won the Argo Group Gold Cup twice there