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New America’s Cup rules could fast-track the event’s return to Chicago

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With relative stability on the horizon, local organizers are keen to see Chicago host future America’s Cup events

Jay Koziarz

On the heels of Chicago’s successful America’s Cup World Series event last summer, the announcement of a new framework agreement governing the future of the 165 year old regatta could see the world’s best sailors and their high-tech foiling catamarans return to the Windy City in the near future. Signed by five of the six teams and the organizers comprising the America's Cup Event Authority, the accord could bring a rare period of stability—and consistent competition—to the sport.

In years past, the America’s Cup often suffered from long periods of dormancy and uncertainty as competitors waited for the rules, boats, race formats, and venues to be set by the Cup’s winner. Now, with rule-makers keen to build on the momentum of the current 35th iteration of the America’s Cup and its “World Series” circuit of prelimary races—of which Chicago was a part—the terms and conditions governing the next two Cup cycles (36th in 2019 and 37th in 2021) have been set.

Chicago’s 2016 America’s Cup World Series race course took place inside the breakwater, starting and ending yards from the spectators at Navy Pier.
America’s Cup

The announcement has prompted the Chicago Match Race Center, the local sailing club that hosted the America's Cup World Series event at Navy Pier, to embark on a new quest to secure Chicago’s place on future race calendars, reports Crain’s. The group has gone as far as to commission a detailed report highlighting the media reach and economic impact created by Chicago’s 2016 event.

According to the report, 195,000 people from 48 states and 23 nations attended the weekend and were responsible for $3.3 million in local tax revenue. "We learned a lot of lessons, and the next one will be better," Tod Reynolds of the Chicago Match Race Center tells Crain’s. "Now we can say that Chicago is obviously a very good venue to host this."

A new video from America's Cup Event Authority providing an overview of the framework agreement and what it means for the future of the sport can be seen below: