America’s Cup Venue Bid Put RAK on the Map.


Back when Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) was announced as Alinghi’s prefferred venue for the 33rd America’s Cup, we suggested that even if the event never took place, the emirate would have attained a massive ROI on any investment, purely by the coverage that was devoted to the story. Until Alinghi’s announcement, RAK was almost unheard of outside of the UAE. Using the trusty equivalent media value calculation, it would have cost RAK an enormous amount of advertising on CNN or similar to gain the brand recall it now has.

ArabianBusiness.com now reports some of the real costs around the failed bid to host the America’s Cup in the Middle East and clarifies what was evident at the time, that the infrastructure development by RAK would have been done whether or not the America’s Cup took place.

Khater Massaad, CEO of RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA) has said that the episode put RAK on the map and also said the amount invested by the emirate to overhaul its infrastructure ahead of the race fell far short of the reported $120m.

Massaad, who is also an adviser to Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qassimi, crown prince and deputy ruler of Ras Al Khaimah said:

“Everyone has put so many figures on this. We invested in total $15m. Of that, we’ve been refunded $5m by Alinghi. The remaining $10m was [spent] on infrastructure, but things that we needed to do anyway.”

RAK was reported to have invested $120m in infrastructure, including $50m for modifications to Al Hamra Palace Residence and $1m around Al Hamra Marina, to accommodate the race.

“That was deepening the canal and… adding proper infrastructure for the channel to leave the island. Then putting in electricity, water and finishing the roads to the island, which we needed to do. The loss [to Ras Al Khaimah] did not exceed $2m.”