After winning the America’s Cup for the first time in 2010, that ill-tempered grudge match between BMW Oracle Racing and Alinghi in an unusually arctic Valencia, Larry Ellison made some big statements. He wanted to democratise the America’s Cup, to make a Cup campaign attainable not just for the uber-rich billionaires such as himself, but for commercially sponsored teams. You would be able to campaign with a 7-figure budget, he said. Add two noughts to that sum, and he would have been closer to the eventual reality.

“A lot needs to change,” Ellison stated. “We want to keep the best of the past and combine it with modern technology. We want to create a 21st century sports business that will support sailing professionals and their families. Businesses that don’t make money are not sustainable. Sports that don’t make money are just hobbies for rich guys.”

Thing is, he said that not in 2010 when he had inherited the Cup, but in 2014 in a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. While on so many levels - from a sporting and a spectator perspective to name two - the 34th America’s Cup was a success, Ellison’s comments are an admission that in commercial terms the event was a failure. It was prohibitively expensive, which is why only three challengers made it to San Francisco. So the quest goes on to make the oldest trophy in sport commercially viable. Based on the fact that much of what Ellison said post-victory in 2010 turned out to be pie in the sky, it’s hard to know how much importance we should attach to his latest pronouncements.

According to Larry, AC35 will see root-and-branch reform of the Cup once again. What will remain is the same kind of hardware - hydrofoiling, wingmasted multihulls which for close match racing proved themselves to be every bit as exciting as monohull keelboats. But he is talking about a very different racing format. Rather than using the baby AC45s as a sideshow from the main event, this time he wants to use them in a qualifying circuit where challenger teams will be separated into two divisions: Pacific and Atlantic. He envisages around six teams in each of the divisions, who would race against each other during 2015 and 2016 to earn a place in the top two who would go forward to compete aboard the new AC60 multihulls in their division finals. At the moment Ellison favours Rome for the Atlantic finals and Shanghai for the Pacifics.

The venue for the America’s Cup itself - not San Francisco, not Newport Rhode Island - but Hawaii! Two years ago Ellison bought the island of Lanai for $300 million, and now he’d like to bring the final stages of the competition to his new front door, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. One of the things that San Francisco Bay did so well was to provide a natural amphitheatre for spectators to enjoy the racing. That will be lost if the Cup goes 2500 miles offshore.

So how commercially viable for sponsors will this Cup be? Ellison draws the comparison. “To race an AC72 in San Francisco cost the teams at least $100 million. To race an AC45 all over the world in 2015 and 2016 plus an AC60 in 2017 will cost each team as little as $30 million, all in." Well, he made bold promises last time that didn’t come close to the reality. Let’s hope this time Team Oracle USA have done their due diligence a bit more diligently. Even then, I don’t think the Cup will have budged that far from its origins as a contest for rich guys.