Media, the poor cousins of the 34th America's Cup?
With just one left until BMW Oracle presents in Valencia the final Protocol of the 34th America's Cup, the type of boat as well as the year of celebration of the event, the San Francisco Examiner is increasing the content dedicated to the America's Cup in general and the city's efforts to lure Larry Ellison in particular.
Last Friday we were told that on Thursday, the Mayor and his staff held a meeting with Larry Ellison where they showed him a Powerpoint slideshow with their vision about the event. According to the newspaper, "a soaring webbed structure that evokes a sail" will provide cover over the "public heart" of the village, located at Pier 30-32. Pier 28 will host the media center, Brannan Street Wharf will host the superyachts that carry the racing yachts from their points of origin to the race, Pier 48 the administration, as well as Pier 50 the team bases, and Seawalls 330 and 337 for entertainment and media.
I have to admit, I've never been to San Francisco, so I had no idea where all those Piers are located, until I saw one graph that really puzzled me, depicting the America's Cup southern waterfront venue and reproduced here below. It's a bird's eye view of all the facilities the city includes in its proposal to host the world's most prestigious sailing event and gives a clear overview of where each infrastructure will be located. I suppose it is a plan drawn by the architectural office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, based on instructions by the mayor's office. In fact, it seems to be based on the San Francisco digital model the same office had built in 2005.
It all looks very nice until you closely examine the proposed location of the "Media Center", in particular its great separation from the Event Offices, and, especially, the Team Bases. A quick check on Google Maps shows that the distance separating the Media Center from the Team Bases is no less than 2 kilometers!!! I do understand that unlike Auckland or Valencia, San Francisco doesn't have a natural circular basin where all facilities could closely fit together but I can't believe there isn't any space available to locate the Media Center closer to the Team Bases.
Not only is it 2 kilometers away from the bases, journalists would have to walk on a public street, go through the AT&T stadium, cross a bridge and walk another 300 meters to reach the closest base. On the other hand, the International TV Compound is strategically located, a few meters away from the bases as are the Event Offices. Journalists will not be able to just simply leave their desk, walk to a base and come back 15 minutes later! Gone are the days when they could check what was going on in the bases just by leaning over the windows of the Media Center. It is perfectly understandable BMW Oracle gives TV absolute priority but to the point of transforming the rest of media as the poor cousins of the 34th America's Cup?