But millions required for a return

The salty city of Plymouth has been given a big thumbs up by America’s Cup boss Richard Worth, but the reality is unless millions of pounds are spent by the West Country port, the event will never be staged there.

More than 100,000 people watched a series of thrilling America’s Cup World Series races on Plymouth Sound between nine high-tech catamarans racing at speeds of 30mph or more. At the end of the nine-day event, Worth said: “Of course we want to come back to Plymouth

“The city has exceeded our expectations in terms of the way it has been organised, the number of visitors and the quality of the racing. We have had a great welcome and people have taken real pleasure in the event. There is no reason why you wouldn’t say, ‘Plymouth was great, let’s go back’.

“But in the end it comes down to the nasty business of money.” He said that “more than a handful” of Plymouth people had asked him, “How do we make this come back to the city?”

“The answer is, Plymouth would need to find millions of pounds – but the return on that would be many times more. What it costs us to stage the event runs into the millions. If we are going to break even we’re going to need to find a way to create a commercial model that generates millions. We
could ask the council to pay up, or work with local businesses.”

Plymouth University is to carry out a study of the economic benefit to the city. Mr Worth said: “It would be a surprise if it was not 10 million pounds or more. It has clearly driven up visitor numbers and there are a lot of benefits to the city. But he said Plymouth was in competition with a number of other cities. “It’s a world series, so it has to go around the world, and the world is a big place.”