The Future of the America’s Cup

Sailing, once a gentleman’s sport dominated by great-on-water men, has become an all-American pastime, one not as popular as a day at the ballpark, but one just as revered by those who happily trade hot dogs for high sails. Roughly 164 races and 34 races into its history, America’s Cup has once again set the stage for controversy. Fans, views, and sold-out ticketing booths fuel sporting in the U.S., and though America’s Cup has often baulked against the pressure to commercialize, in 2015, the industry is reconsidering its position.

Most recently, Ralph Lauren magazine took an in-depth look at the new era of racing: boats with multiple hulls that literally lift out of the water, speeds ranging from 12 to more than 40 knots, Kevlar sails, halyards, and sheets. America’s Cup’s Peter Rusch says, “The whole aesthetic changed. The event got younger—the athletes, the sailors—and that attracted a younger audience and partners like Red Bull.” While once given life by fans high on the seas, now sponsors routinely synonymous with the NFL, NBA, and MLB keep America’s Cup afloat.

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