SAN FRANCISCO -- The America's Cup is bringing more than sailing to San Francisco.
It's also bringing Sting to the bayfront June 2 to perform at a soon-to-be-built, temporary 9,000-seat outdoor amphitheater off the Embarcadero, highlighting a series of concerts on the iconic San Francisco shoreline.
Concert promoter Live Nation is teaming up with America's Cup organizers to build the venue between Piers 27 and 29, where the America's Cup Park will be in full swing as the hub for sailing teams, fans and races all summer long.
For five months, the amphitheater will add to a cultural, sporting and entertainment transformation under way along the waterfront.
Already, two major San Francisco institutions are making plans to relocate and invigorate the Embarcadero, the waterfront stretch north of the Bay Bridge known mostly for the renovated Ferry Building and decrepit piers and parking lots. San Francisco's Exploratorium -- a huge tourist draw -- is moving from the Palace of Fine Arts near the Marina to Pier 15 between the Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf and re-opening in April. The Golden State Warriors also announced plans to build a new arena on Piers 30 and 32 by 2017.
Come October, when the America's Cup races are over, the temporary bleachers and stage will be taken down, and the piers will revert to their intended purpose: a cruise ship terminal.
The America's Cup Pavilion will "add to the excitement that everyone
will experience on the waterfront this summer," said Jane Sullivan, communications director for the America's Cup Project for the city of San Francisco. "It's fun for the visitors and good for the city."
The concert season at the temporary pavilion will run from May 15 to Oct. 15, with other acts announced as they are confirmed. Tickets for Sting go on sale through Ticketmaster on Feb. 22 -- well before the pavilion is even built.
"It's a great opportunity for a city that doesn't currently have an outdoor amphitheater to have, for a period of time, acts that don't typically play the city," Matt Prieshoff, Live Nation's chief operating officer, said Tuesday.
Stephen Barclay, the America's Cup Event Authority CEO, said that along with the summer of sailing, "we plan to continue to celebrate music and culture as part of the America's Cup."
Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA won the right to bring the America's Cup races to San Francisco after winning the trophy in 2010. Three other teams, from New Zealand, Italy and Sweden, will compete on 72-foot catamarans in the Louis Vuitton Cup series on the bay beginning July 4. The winner will race against defending champion Oracle in September.
Organizers have promised a spectacular event, drawing tourists not only to watch the races from virtually anywhere along the waterfront, but also to entertain them at the Marina Green Village near Fort Mason as well as the America's Cup Park, where the amphitheater will be built. The pavilion will be erected close to the newly-built cruise ship terminal, which will serve as temporary headquarters for the America's Cup until the races are over.
The amphitheater has been on the America's Cup drawing board for some time, and the plans have already passed environmental reviews. Billed as San Francisco's first outdoor, waterfront concert venue, the pavilion will be roughly the same size as Berkeley's Greek Theatre, which is operated by rival concert promoter Another Planet Entertainment. Two other similar outdoor concert facilities, Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheatre and Concord's Sleep Train Pavilion, are larger -- holding 22,000 and 12,500 seats, respectively -- and are operated by Live Nation.
While the bayside venue promises a post-card setting, Sting won't be performing with the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz as a backdrop. The temporary amphitheater's stage will be perpendicular to the water, not facing it.
Sting will have Coit Tower at his back instead. During Amerca's Cup races, visitors can view the action on a giant screen or walk down the pier to the water's edge for a real-life view.
For now, there are no plans to make the amphitheater permanent or find a separate waterfront location for a similar facility.
"You never know what these things will be like until we do it," said Sullivan, with the city of San Francisco. "If everyone loves it, who knows?"
Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic, www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts. ___