Hampshire & Isle of Wight

America's Cup in Portsmouth: changes made after event criticism

America's Cup in Portsmouth July 2015
Image caption Racing was cancelled and the public viewing areas evacuated due to bad weather last year

Changes to the staging of America's Cup World Series events in Portsmouth are to be introduced, following criticism of last year's event.

A city council report said the yacht racing in July 2015 boosted visitor numbers and raised the city's profile.

However, it highlighted confusion among spectators about ticketing and criticised steel fencing at the site.

Among changes planned for this year's event is scrapping of evening entertainment.

The four-day weekend event in July 2015, run by TeamOrigin Events, marked the opening stage of the sailing series as Sir Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) began Britain's bid to win the 35th America's Cup.

While the Saturday events attracted about 100,000 spectators, racing was cancelled and the public viewing areas evacuated due to bad weather on Sunday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among those disappointed as racing was abandoned and there was criticism on social media over spectator provision.

On the Friday, ticket holders to a cancelled South Coast proms concert were offered a refund plus free entry to Saturday's pop concert, angering people who had paid up to £48 for tickets for Saturday's show.

Image caption About 100,000 people are believed to have visited Portsmouth to watch the racing and entertainment on Saturday, 25 July 2015

The council report said the event was a success, on the whole, and generated £9m of economic benefit.

It said "operational issues" had been addressed ahead of the next event planned for 21-24 July.

Changes include shortening the on-shore events to three days, from 11:00 to 18:00, after a "community/preview" day on 21 July, and no evening events planned.

There will be no perimeter barriers around Southsea Common and a large open area on the common with direct views of the sea is planned to allow viewing of the racing.

It said the offer would "support the average demographic" of 40-61 years.

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