SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Exhibition races this summer ahead of the America’s Cup regatta next year may taken place in New York rather than San Francisco.

The elite yacht race would still go on as planned in the San Francisco Bay next year, after a warm-up round in either New York Harbor or the Hudson River.

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KCBS, CBS 5 & SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

Critics who suggest the last minute move is a dig at San Francisco for not giving the America’s Cup Authority access to Pier 80 should remember that Oracle’s Larry Ellison is out to promote racing and sailing. Ellison and others are betting a highly visible trial race, around the Statue of Liberty for example, might garner the kind of international attention that would add a lot of buzz to the San Francisco race in 2013.

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It is by no means certain New York will be able to grant all the necessary permits for an exhibition race this summer.

Big corporate sponsors and gorgeous television shots could transform the America’s Cup race into something as watchable as Nascar, Ellison hopes. Despite a network contract with NBC, the public’s appetite to watch boats that go 35 mph remains untested.

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