America's Cup Generated $38.2 Million for RI Businesses

Planning Decisions, Inc. and Charles Colgan, Ph.D., University of Southern Maine, deliver positive and constructive report on America’s Cup event to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation.

The following was released by RIEDC:

Rhode Island – and specifically, Fort Adams State Park – is well-positioned to host large marine events after seamlessly executing the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) last summer, according to Large Marine Events Benefits Assessment Modeling Report by Planning Decisions, Inc. and Charles Colgan, Ph.D., University of Southern Maine.

The report had a two-fold purpose: first, to analyze the fiscal impact of the ACWS, and second, to act as a learning tool for the state to better host comparable large marine events in the future. The feedback came from a random survey of visitors on all nine practice and racing days in the public areas of Fort Adams, resulting in a test field of 1,260 valid responses.

“Hosting the America’s Cup races last summer was a great source of pride for Rhode Islanders,” said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. “The Large Marine Events report shows that our beautiful state is the perfect setting for these types of events, and we look forward to using the feedback outlined in the study to make future events even better and more frequent.”

Hosting these types of events has a far-reaching impact on the state. The immediate economic impact resulted in approximately:

  • $38.2 million for Rhode Island businesses
  • 345 jobs with an income of $12 million
  • $2.5 million in general state tax revenue

Revenue came from four main sources: visitors who came to watch the event, organizers and sponsors who set up and operated the event, racing teams competing in the event, and media covering the event.

The event attracted 65,000 total spectators during the four-day compressed racing period, with over 7,300 first-time visitors to Newport. Of those visitors surveyed, the majority said they were “very likely” to return. This response indicates a lasting positive increase in Rhode Island tourism. In all, visitors – first-time and repeat – came from 600 unique zip codes in 41 states and 18 countries. The report found that the size of the visiting party and length of stay increased with the distance traveled. Therefore, marketing to travelers further away will have a great fiscal impact on the area during future events.

“There was nothing quite like seeing the throngs of people lining both sides of the East Passage enjoying the spectacular America’s Cup World Series races,” said Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit. “Fort Adams State Park offered a world-class venue for this event, and the natural resources of Rhode Island provided the power and the beauty that put it over the top. Using our state parks to host tens of thousands of visitors to enjoy a day on our coast is exactly what DEM hopes to continue to do.”

To accommodate this type of event, the state of Rhode Island, the city of Newport, the America’s Cup Event Authority, the America’s Cup Race Management and the America’s Cup World Series Host Committee prepared for over a year to ensure the adequate infrastructure and organization was in place to support the event. Included were permanent, public infrastructure improvements at Fort Adams that not only benefited those attending the ACWS but will continue to benefit Rhode Island residents and visitors for years to come, as well as position the venue to compete for similar, world-class events in the future.

“Through our partnership with our legislative leadership and the executive office of the State of Rhode Island, Sail Newport continues to move forward with the improvements to Fort Adams and its marine facilities to support public access to Narragansett Bay and to provide the infrastructure for world class sailing events at the Sail Newport Sailing Center,” said Brad Read, Rhode Island’s America’s Cup World Series Host Committee Chairman and Executive Director of Sail Newport. “We had our successes, and we certainly have things we could do better next time. I look forward to working with this same wonderful team on future events!”

Survey feedback indicates several areas of improvement, with the majority relating to concessions, information and marketing, transportation and parking, and coordination with local businesses. The report concludes that, given the unknowns of hosting this event for the first time, organizers should be proud of hosting a successful event.

Jon Sisson February 02, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Horrible traffic or ghost town. I'm confused. I remember the traffic part just fine. Not so much the ghost town part. Newport, though the postcard of RI hotspots, hasn't always been the busiest place. I think the events brought a very decent amount of people. In terms of the monies, I don't really take the numbers too seriously. Regardless, I think the event was a positive thing. I found the events fun and I know for a fact that the cup brought increased tourism to newport (I work in the mansions downtown). And no, I'm obviously not a politician and I don't work for the toll peeps! Just a fan of things going on in our more often than not, rather boring state!
Peggy February 02, 2013 at 12:33 AM
What would you expect from this report. DO YOU Actually think they would say the Event was a BUST...??? Not a chance......NOPE
John ("Anything But Sue") February 02, 2013 at 12:41 AM
The EDC is just trying to justify their existance,,,Just Sayin..TOTAL Crap...
John ("Anything But Sue") February 02, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Another thought for you "Low Information Voters" .......I'm Just Wonderin.. HOW Are these Numbers Arrived at..??. HOW do they determine these numbers..?? WHERE do they come from..?? THINK about that......NAH . Thinking is not called for...NOT Required...
Newport resident February 02, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Are you sure you work in one of the mansion's...lol If your from the area my prognosis is quite simple. The event was in the state park which is far from walking distance from downtown. People only went to the park and never went to the down town area. Since there is only two main roads in and out of town it created huge traffic jams... Seriously, do you really work there because even people who visit are aware of thise fact... The mansions are almost all on Bellevue and not downtown, which is where the traffic was before and after the event??? If yiur working you cannot see the downtown area now can you??? My wife and several friends work down town I live off of Spring (one of the main roads downntown). i am clearly more aware of the situation then yourself so you dont know for a fact because if you were in traffic you clearly were notin the downtown area.


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