Cork Harbour could be showcased to the world.

Bring Cork to the world

Cork is something of a haven for yachting.

It boasts the Royal Cork Yacht Club which is the world's oldest yacht club - founded in 1720. It celebrated its its 300th anniversary in 2020 and claims to be one of the world's leading yacht clubs.

Cork also boasts the splendour and magnificence of Cork Harbour, and we like to claim it is the second largest natural harbour in the world. Apparently quite a few other harbours claim this too!

Most Corkonians may not have the same grá for the yachting that they might have for hurling, football or even road bowling, but with our beautiful coastline, we have a serious advantage in our marine environment, which we don’t currently use as fully as we could.

There are a number of sporting events that are huge globally but make little impact here. The Cricket World Cup would be one, a tournament that draws huge audiences but draws little impact here beyond when the Irish team upsets one of the big nations.

The Tour de France is a huge annual sporting event with claims that it is watched by a gigantic tv audience. It has been reported that 3.5 billion people tuned into the Tour de France in 2018, losing out only to the 2018 World Cup, which had 3.6 billion views and the 2008 Beijing Olympics which boasted 4.7 billion viewers.

I don’t know anything about it but the America’s Cup it could be one of these sports.

It is apparently a huge global event and draws huge attention every time it’s held.

The last one was held in Auckland in New Zealand and it’s been reported that it reached almost one billion people - 941 million. The actual figure for the dedicated TV audience when news, press web and online social media is removed was 68.2m.

The America’s Cup has been described as “the pinnacle of yachting” and was first contested in 1851 making it the oldest trophy in international sport.

It predates the modern Olympic Games by 45 years.

Cork Chamber President Paula Cogan this week said: “Now is the time to focus the gaze of the world on our region and the America’s Cup offers the perfect vehicle for doing so. As we move beyond the pandemic, we have an opportunity to send a strong signal to the world, and the 900m viewers of this event that Ireland has successfully navigated the pandemic and is open for business.”

Cork faces serious competition from Jeddah, Valencia and another Spanish bid for the event.

It has been estimated that it will cost around €150m to stage the event in Cork but the benefits could be many times greater. A substantial part of the €150m costs would be infrastructural, leaving a long-term benefit.

A cost-benefit analysis suggests the America’s Cup could be worth around €500m to the economy, potentially generating 2,000 jobs, and also attract up to 2.5m visitors.

There’s not many major global sporting events that Ireland can host but this is one. We should do our best to make it happen.