The Oracle OpenWorld 2013 conference, which kicked off Sunday, is projected to draw more than 50,000 attendees to San Francisco in one of the city's largest conferences.
But Tuesday afternoon, the conference had one less attendee than planned: Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison.
Ellison had more important things to attend -- watching his Oracle USA team make an improbable comeback in the America's Cup. He had been scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the conference starting about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday.
"There’s been a great deal of fluidity in our scheduling," said Oracle Corp. chair Jeff Henley, as he took the conference stage to explain Ellison's absence.
The America's Cup races were supposed to be over by now. And it appeared that would happen when the New Zealand team took what everyone thought was an insurmountable lead.
But Oracle's team has come roaring back after getting outraced for most of the event. On Tuesday, Oracle won the first race, closing the gap in wins to 8-7. A second race is underway Tuesday afternoon, and if Oracle wins the cup will be tied.
The first team to nine wins captures the cup.
Deliver a keynote or watch perhaps the greatest comeback in sports history? The decision turned out to be obvious, to Ellison at least.
In his place, Oracle trotted out on the stage Thomas Kurian, Oracle's executive vice president of product development.
People are flooding out of #oow13 keynote after hearing that CEO Larry Ellison is at the America's Cup, and not here.— Jonathan Bloom (@BloomTV) September 24, 2013
[Updated Sept. 24 at 2:56 p.m.: Oracle Team USA won the second race Tuesday, tying the cup at 8-8. The final race is scheduled for Wednesday.]