Paul Harden, who was named executive director of America's Cup Rhode Island 2012 by his now-vanquished EDC boss, Keith Stokes, saw attendance figures come in well under initial forecasts of 90,000.
His explanation to the Associated Press was that organizers originally expected nine days of full-strength racing, rather than a series of practice events followed by just four days of the real deal.
Harden added that the projected $70 million in economic activity for the state might also be a bit off the mark. "It's a whole new event," he said. "There was no history to use."
Well, how the hell do you go around saying you are going to generate $70 million for the state if you have no idea what you are getting into? That's amateur hour. This and the blown-up crowd estimates are precisely what gets EDC into trouble, as the agency humps events up front, throwing around figures that — as Harden now admits — have no basis in reality.
This cheerleading without foundation is just what led to the 38 Studios fiasco, as no one would admit that Curt Schilling didn't know an Xbox from his elbow, and that the field of video games is more volatile than a warehouse full of TNT. But he was going to be a "job creator" for the state, and how could a former Red Sox World Series hero be anything other than the most astute businessman in the region?
Any p.r. flack knows that you always, always, always underestimate projected crowd figures and revenue in advance. If you say 20,000 people will attend and only 19,999 show up, you're a loser. If you say 10,000 will be there and 11,000 are on hand, you're a huge success. Same for bucks: say $50K will be generated and you net a Ben Franklin over that, you're an effing free market genius. Come in a quarter short and you're a snake oil salesman.
Great expectations. You explain it, Mr. Harden.
The Fourth of July is generally considered the birthday of the US of A. But Vo Dilunduhs know better. We commemorate the burning of the HMS Gaspee (a revolutionary act that preceded the Boston Tea Party by more than a year). And our fair colony was the first to announce independence from the British crown, on May 4, 1776, a full two months before Independence Day. So happy birthday, USA and nyah, nyah, nyah to all you Johnny-come-lately colonies.
And, on a personal note, July 4 is also the birthday of our dear friend — and one of the country's most original and multi-talented artists — Phoebe Legere. So, happy birthday to you too, Phoebe.
Ed Tabela passed away unexpectedly on June 26. Ed was a lyricist, singer, and record producer, who fronted local bands New Legion and Slider. Probably of greater interest to local music fans: Ed was the original lead singer in the Schemers, one of the Biggest Little's finest bands and a dominant force on the local scene throughout the '80s. A wonderful and warm person, Ed was much loved and will be fondly remembered by members of the Vo Dilun music community.