Ainslie to Compete Against Oracle in Next America’s Cup

Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, will develop a British entry for the 35th edition of sailing’s America’s Cup.

Six teams, including defending champion Oracle Team USA founded by Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison, will compete, organizers said at a press conference in London today.

Ainslie, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, stepped in as tactician last year to help Oracle to the biggest comeback in the event’s 163-year history. It went on to defeat Emirates Team New Zealand 9-8 on San Francisco Bay after trailing 8-1.

“For us in Britain, to bring the America’s Cup home will be a massive thing, both for our team and our country,” Ainslie, 37, said at the press conference.

The next edition of the America’s Cup will be held in 2017 in either San Diego or Bermuda. The venue will be announced before the end of this year.

Jimmy Spithill will return to skipper Oracle Team USA and Dean Barker will lead Emirates Team New Zealand again.

The other three teams are Artemis Racing of Sweden, skippered by Nathan Outteridge; Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge led by Max Sirena; and Team France with Franck Cammas at the helm.

Global Interest

Last year’s dramatic finish and television coverage using graphics, on-board cameras and microphones sparked global interest in the event, according to Harvey Schiller, new commercial commissioner for the America’s Cup.

“We’re in a very competitive market place,” Schiller said in an interview after the press conference. “We’re competing with reality television now.” An annual World Series of as many as six races a year will help sustain interest until 2017, he said.

“Sponsors and media, they don’t want to build a property and three years later, it disappears,” he said. “So we’re looking for long-term involvements, you get more value out of it.”

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