Ireland, Spain and Saudi Arabia are the top three candidates amongst Auckland to host the 37th edition of the America’s Cup, the oldest sailing competition in the world.
The AC37 venue bid process opened in late 2020 and closed before the staging of the 36th America’s Cup Match. Since then, 35 candidates were reduced to 3 and then to five - Valencia, Jeddah and Cork City. Barcelona was a surprise late entry while Auckland remains as an option despite the New Zealand Government being unable to negotiate an agreement during their three-month exclusive period.
According to the New Zealand Government, the 36th America’s Cup exceeded the incredible cost of $NZD 774 million. An impact study for the previous America’s Cup in Bermuda estimated that for every dollar invested, organizers received 5 dollars in return.
However, New Zealand has reported to use the same method as the one used for Bermuda and they came with a value of just $5.3 million using an audience of 68.2 million viewers. PWC calculated the value at $115 million for an audience of 51 million viewers.
The original group promoting the 2007/2010 Cup venue was going to be used again in 2024 in Valencia, but it withdrew a week before the AC37 venue announcement was due on September 17. Now, the Vice Mayor of Valencia, Sandra Gómez, wants to advocate a public-private collaboration to host the America’s Cup.
As the Valencian infrastructure is already in place and it is cost absorbed, if the commercial parties can find a way of making their investment give them a positive return, then the bid may be viable.
The Spanish Government is waiting for the Real Club Nautico de Valencia to present a serious and rigorous study to decide on a formal proposal or decline. Minister of Sports, Pilar Bernabé indicated if they throw in an existing infrastructure then the Council costs would be in the hundreds of thousands of Euros instead of the millions.
Officials from the Department of Sport are advising the Government to withdraw their bid to stage the 37th America’s Cup in Cork. According to the Irish Examiner, the Irish government has requested more time to consider the costs and potential financial benefits of hosting the Cup.
According to a report from Ernst Young, the infrastructure that would be created for the Cup would cost €100 million, and the event would cost €50 million, for a return estimated of €450 million.
Despite both other options considering hosting the 37th America’s Cup, Saudi Arabia is rumoured to be at the top of the queue with a big-money bid to hold the regatta in Jeddah.
However, the kiwi team wants to defend their Cup in Auckland and are considering whether it would be possible to host it again here or it would be more beneficial to do it elsewhere. Emirates Team New Zealand said the process has been complicated by the difficulties presented by COVID, making it impossible for team members to visit the venue options.
The Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand have announced that design work has started to develop a 40ft version of the AC75 wingsailed foiling monohull. The AC40 will be used for preliminary regattas between 2023 and 2024. Event organizers are looking at pathways to include women in the sport.
Moreover, the 37th America’s Cup will be a multi-challenger event - closing the door on the proposed one-on-one challenge at Cowes between Emirates Team New Zealand and Ineos Team UK. Also, design work for hydrogen-powered chase boats, used in the Cup, are in place. This will give the Cup an eco-friendly approach, making it more attractive for teams and event sponsors.
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So far, only the Defender and Challenger of Record are confirmed entries, but it is likely the other challengers will announce their intention to compete once the venue, date and boat details have been decided.
On other notes, top kiwi athletes Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have announced they had not re-signed with Emirates Team New Zealand.
According to several parties, there are news of interested teams from America, Italy and Switzerland. The final stages for negotiation for the 37th America’s Cup will be announced as planned on November 17, 2021 by Emirates Team New Zealand and Royal New Zealand Yacht Club.