Larry Ellison's Billionaire Yacht Race Cost San Francisco $5.5 MillionS

Turning an entire region into a playpen for rich technologists sounds good on paper, sure, and everyone with a view of the water loves a good boat race—but at what cost? Five and a half million dollars to Californian taxpayers. That's the cost!

The San Francisco Chronicle crunched the numbers, and they are not good:

San Francisco is still in the red from hosting the 34th America's Cup, which so far has cost taxpayers at least $5.5 million, according to draft financial figures from the regatta that The Chronicle reviewed Monday.

That spending, though, allowed the city to host an event that drew more than 700,000 people to the waterfront over roughly three months of sailing and generated at least $364 million in total economic impact...well below the $902 million in economic benefit that was projected in March, a few months before the races were held. And it's a far cry from the $1.4 billion economic boost that was originally predicted in 2010

This was all for a high-speed yacht race, organized at the behest of cheating billionaire and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Men in boats, performing on behalf of the men who bought the boats—fast, large boats, of a fashion more advanced and expensive than any old mariner could've ever fathomed. Software boats, paid for with software money, by a man who owns part of Hawaii. We understand he just took a pay cut—and we sympathize—but if Larry Ellison wants everyone to watch his big software boat zoom around, couldn't he take a very small pinch of his $40 billion trove and organize the thing himself? Maritime vanity shouldn't be subsidized.

Photo: Getty