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Report Found Event Drew Nearly 200,000 People From 23 Countries; Strengthens Chicago’s Case to Bring International Event Back in 2018

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (LVACWS) Chicago event organizers today released the “By The Numbers” Report for the first-ever America’s Cup racing on freshwater, which was held June 10-12, 2016, at Navy Pier. The historic event, which saw nearly 200,000 attendees, marked an important milestone for establishing Chicago as a premier stadium sailing destination in North America.

“The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series showcased Chicago to the world while generating an economic impact that reached throughout the city,” Mayor Emanuel said. “There is no better freshwater location than Lake Michigan for this incredible racing series, and I look forward to bringing it back to the city of Chicago as soon as possible.”

The report found the 2016 LVACWS Chicago event:

  • Was attended by visitors from more than 48 states and 23 countries;

  • Attracted 195,000 visitors to the event on Navy Pier, with another 11,000 viewing from the water;

  • Generated more than $41.6 million in total economic impact; and

  • Saw 450 Chicago youth participating in the event through the Endeavour program – a unique opportunity that would have occurred without the event.

Chicago’s case to bring the America’s Cup World Series back to freshwater took a major step forward this week with the announcement of a framework agreement among participating America’s Cup teams. Under the new framework, teams intend to hold the America’s Cup finals every two years, and preliminary America’s Cup World Series events during the 18 months prior, putting Chicago in prime position to host another event on the lakefront as soon as the summer of 2018. Under the previous framework, Chicago would not have been eligible to big again for at least two to three years.

“In 2016, historic Navy Pier celebrated its centennial with a year-long list of celebrations highlighted by the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series,” Navy Pier CEO Marilyn Gardner said. “By drawing nearly 200,000 guests to the Pier and putting Chicago on display to millions more worldwide, the first-of-its kind sailing event delivered the single largest reach in Navy Pier history.”

The LVACWS Chicago By The Numbers report was commissioned by the Chicago Match Race Center, and features results conducted by The Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University, who conducted similar research regarding the impact of the NFL Draft in Chicago. The report also includes additional data collected from the event’s marketing agency of record, rEvolution.

"Last summer's event proved that Chicago is an ideal venue to showcase America’s Cup racing,” Don Wilson, CEO of Chicago-based trading firm DRW and Chairman of the 2016 Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series said. “With this agreement in place among the teams, Chicago can start building the support necessary to host a regular stop of the America's Cup World Series and should the stars align, maybe even the America’s Cup Finals one day.”

“It was unreal here - let’s hope this becomes a regular stop on the series,” Jimmy Spithill, Skipper, Oracle Team USA said. “The race course is awesome, all weekend we saw the huge crowds and we all had great support. I hope we’re coming back!”

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