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America's Cup Is The Billionaire's Boat Race You Never Heard Of

What do you get when you combine millions of dollars, giant egos, wind and water?

The America's Cup has been contested since 1851, and it's a competition pitting two teams of sailors against one another in a series of wild, head-to-head races.

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The previous competition's winning team gets to defend its title against a challenging team, with the winner choosing where the event takes place, when it's held and which type of boat is used.

Unsurprisingly, the United States has by far the most victories in America's Cup history -- 29 -- but what will surprise you are the facts and figures behind this elite event.

The current holder of the trophy is Oracle Team USA, which is funded by Larry Ellison, reportedly the fifth richest person in the world.

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Oracle executives reportedly admitted to spending $115 million to win the 2013 America's Cup, though some media outlets suggest the company ponied up closer to $300 million to win the sailing prize.

To give you an idea of where some of that money went, Oracle spent roughly $10 million building its winning boat, AC72, and the annual salary for the low-ranking sailors in the 11-person crew was $300,000.

Presumably, a large chunk of that $115 million (or $300 million) also went toward cutting-edge software designed to monitor and analyze every second of race activity.

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By comparison, English Premier League giant Manchester City FC spent $310 million in player salaries in 2013. That same year, the NFL's Miami Dolphins spent $146 million in free agency. And, the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers shelled out $99 million in salaries for the 2012-13 season.

In 2013, Oracle's AC72 catamaran became the fastest boat in America's Cup history. The vessel blew the competition's previous top speeds, around 20 miles per hour, out of the water by going as fast as 55 miles per hour in open competition.

But Oracle isn't the only big player when it comes to the America's Cup. For the 2017 race, companies like Altair, Cosworth, Airbus, Emirates, Toyota, Land Rover and Red Bull are all throwing money at this extravagant event.

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Currently, the competition is in its qualifying stages, but keep an eye out for next year's America's Cup proper. It's sure to be an epic ride.

Citations: THE BILLIONAIRE'S BOAT RACE How the America's Cup is won and lost (Fairmont)