Dr. Gibbons On America’s Cup Chicago Trip

June 17, 2016

After traveling to Chicago for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, Minister of Economic Development Grant Gibbons said in the House of Assembly on Friday [June 17] that the event was “a resounding success.”

Dr. Gibbons said, “Last weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Chicago as part of the Bermuda team for the third event in 2016 of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in the lead up to the America’s Cup Finals in Bermuda in May and June 2017.”

America’s Cup Chicago Sunday Recap:

“The event was deemed a resounding success with over 200,000 spectators attending over the three days.

“Bermuda and Bermuda sponsors were highly visible throughout the three days to spectators on the water, and also dockside through the Bermuda Tourism Authority booth, not to mention the extensive international media coverage.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker,

Last weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Chicago as part of the Bermuda team for the third event in 2016 of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in the lead up to the America’s Cup Finals in Bermuda in May and June 2017.

The event was held at Chicago’s Navy Pier from 10-12 June with racing on the Saturday and Sunday. Contrary to Chicago’s reputation as the “windy city”, racing was delayed on Saturday due to the lack of wind and the day ended with only one race. After three exciting races on Sunday, the overall winner of the event in Chicago was Artemis Racing. The event was deemed a resounding success with over 200,000 spectators attending over the three days. Bermuda and Bermuda sponsors were highly visible throughout the three days to spectators on the water, and also dockside through the Bermuda Tourism Authority booth, not to mention the extensive international media coverage.

The Bermuda team in Chicago consisted of Jasmin Smith, government America’s Cup liaison officer, the Hon. Michael Winfield, chief executive officer of ACBDA Ltd. along with other ACBDA representatives, Adam Barboza, Jennifer Ayers and assistant commissioner of police, Antoine Daniels, who was representing the ACBDA Security Committee. Mr. Jamahl Simmons, the Shadow Tourism and Economic Development Minister, also attended the event at the invitation of Government.

Mr. Speaker,

In addition to representing Bermuda during the opening ceremony and throughout the three days of the event, the Bermuda team had the opportunity to participate in the operational, logistical and security aspects of the event. This participation provided valuable experience in the running of the event as well as insight into their volunteer programs.

In addition to meeting with potential new sponsors for the Bermuda events, team members also met with existing America’s Cup sponsors, AC teams and held discussions with other AC team representatives not yet resident in Bermuda.

One of the corporate sponsors of the Land Rover BAR U.K. Team, Low Carbon, discussed their proposal to install a solar PV system in Dockyard that will offset the net energy impact of the U.K. Team by supplying renewable power. It is their expressed intention to leave the system for the benefit of the National Museum following the completion of AC35.

Mr. Speaker,

Beyond the sailing, we were also able to leverage the America’s Cup event as an outreach opportunity to connect with key media, business and government figures in Chicago. As part of Bermuda’s ongoing advocacy campaign to differentiate our jurisdiction from other international financial centres, these meetings allowed us to forge useful relationships and talk about Bermuda’s top-tier reputation and what makes it unique as a business domicile.

Through the Bermuda Business Development Agency, I was invited to be a guest on a popular early-morning WGN radio business show called “The Opening Bell with Steve Grzanich.” I was asked about the Panama Papers, which provided the opportunity to highlight Bermuda’s global economic contributions, our robust reinsurance sector, and our respected regulatory environment.

The BDA arranged very fruitful meetings with Deputy Mayor of Chicago Steven Koch and international economist Dr Philip Levy, of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Deputy Mayor Koch invited us to City Hall, where we discussed the 2017 America’s Cup—which his city had also competed for in 2014. Other topics of mutual interest included trade, financial services, transport and tourism initiatives.

Dr Levy is a senior fellow on the global economy at the Council and we were able to discuss Bermuda’s advantages and challenges as an offshore centre, as well as Bermuda’s treaty partnerships, our OECD affiliations, and our beneficial ownership register. Both Dr Levy and Deputy Mayor Koch said they enjoyed the discussions and the opportunity to learn more about what we’re doing on the island.

Bermuda also organised a networking dinner co-hosted by the BDA and Bermuda Tourism Authority for Chicago-area corporate and tourism representatives. Several former Bermuda residents who now work in various industries in the Chicago area were able to attend.

All these efforts added further value to our Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series participation, and they allowed us to gain stronger traction with our message and Bermuda branding in a vital urban marketplace.

Mr. Speaker,

The next international events in the Louis Vuitton World Series will be held in Portsmouth, UK in July and then Toulon, France, in September 2016.

In the meantime, in order to keep the America’s Cup momentum going in Bermuda, the ACBDA, in conjunction with the West End Development Corporation, have organised “Foil Fest,” which will be held on 25 June, 2016 at the Royal Naval Dockyard.

The Dockyard event will feature the three resident America’s Cup teams, Artemis Racing, Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan in a series of ‘drag races’ just off of the cruise ship docks. Additional sailboat racing will include Optimists, Comets and Kiteboards. Also, the Bermuda Pilot Gig Club will do an exhibition race prior to the AC45 races. Admission to the event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

In closing, let me wish all of the America’s Cup participating teams success in their journey towards the AC35 Finals in Bermuda next year.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (3)

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  1. OBSERVER says:

    …….and the beat goes on!!!!!!!

  2. Bermudian who cares says:

    Wow. The BDA stuff is actually really good.

  3. OBSERVER says:

    Do keep in mind after all of that ridiculous bashing and foolishness, we are slowly entering election mode.

    Stay tuned, BERMUDIANS!!!!
    This is a part of “superficial niceness!”