San Francisco, with Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop, is to host the 34th America's Cup in 2013.
It will be the first time the America's Cup has been hosted in the United States since 1995.
"We sought a venue that fulfills our promise - to showcase the best sailors in the world competing on the fastest boats," said Richard Worth, the chairman of America's Cup Event Authority.
"And hosting the America's Cup in San Francisco will realise that promise."
Valencia, the Spanish port that hosted the 2007 and 2010 America's Cups, was no longer a candidate for the main regatta and San Francisco beat off competition from Italy to become host city.
"Today is one of great celebration, with San Francisco winning the right to host the America's Cup, and all of the economic benefit, jobs and excitement that comes with it," said city mayor Gavin Newsom.
"San Francisco is the best place on Earth to host an event of this stature, and we could not be more proud to be the city that brings the America's Cup back home to the United States."