The America’s Cup is one of the oldest trophies in existence and is awarded after one of the most widely viewed sporting events in the world. Only the Olympics and World Cup Soccer has more viewers. On December 31, 2010, the City of San Francisco was officially awarded the right to host the 34th America’s Cup in 2013. The City estimates that a three-month long competition would result in over 2.6 million spectators. These spectators are expected to generate more than a billion dollars of quantifiable economic activity. Some estimates have put the increase of expected economic activity at over $5 billion. The top 22 professions to benefit from this influx of capital have been listed in the Mayor’s report on economic impacts of hosting the match in San Francisco Bay.
The promise of this dramatic new economic activity takes place against the backdrop of a serious youth unemployment problem. Nationwide, the current 27.1% youth unemployment rate is the highest it has been since World War II. The unemployment rate for African American youth is even higher at 50.5%. The effects of this unemployment are staggering; some are obvious– employed teenagers are less likely to commit crimes– some effects are less obvious–workers who do not start working as teenagers will ultimately suffer from longer periods of unemployment and lower long-term wages.
With this backdrop, it is not sufficient to offer a few young persons minimum wage jobs during the summer of the America’s Cup. The broader solution lies in part with engaging Bay Area youth in entrepreneurial projects. Q5 uses the unique opportunities afforded by the America’s Cup to teach youth how to benefit from businesses that seek to profit from the America’s Cup.