The board of Team New Zealand has rejected the joint Crown – Auckland Council offer to host the next America’s Cup regatta, the government has confirmed.
The offer involved cash and in-kind support worth about $99 million.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said Aucklanders would be disappointed Team NZ was looking to move the next regatta overseas.
Team NZ wanted twice what was on offer, Goff said.
“That clearly was not sustainable in the post-Covid environment.
“While I understand Team New Zealand have to think about their commercial interests, I share Aucklanders’ disappointment that the Cup is looking like it is going overseas.
“Council invested $113 million in infrastructure for this year’s successful America’s Cup and made a huge effort to deliver it on time and on budget.
“Auckland was anticipating that the city and its businesses would get a second return on this investment…
“While the infrastructure created to support the cup will stay in the city as a legacy for future generations despite this decision, I think Aucklanders and New Zealanders were expecting ETNZ to acknowledge the significant support they have received by choosing to defend the cup in Auckland.
Minister responsible for the America’s Cup Stuart Nash said “We want the next America’s Cup raced in New Zealand. Tens of thousands of diehard Kiwi fans who turned out to support the historic defence of the Cup in March want it raced in New Zealand. It is disappointing we were unable to reach agreement within the exclusive negotiation period”.
He described the offer made to Team NZ as “generous”.
The government was looking for “value for money” to be spent where it most needed to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, Nash said.
“At the end of the day the America’s Cup is a global commercial operation. It is an international business as much as a sporting contest. The team is now free to look to commercial sponsors, private supporters, or other avenues to bankroll the operation.
“Regardless, we wish the team all the best for the future. Team New Zealand is a world-class team. I know they will fly the flag for their home nation in the 37th America’s Cup, whether it is held in Auckland, or taken offshore.”
In a media release, Team NZ’s Grant Dalton said “By all means, the end of the exclusive negotiation period does not eliminate all possibility of the event or an event being hosted in New Zealand. If resources enable an event in New Zealand we will remain open to it.
“But, we must explore other opportunities to ensure we can put up another successful defence. No matter where in the world we are, we will always be Team New Zealand. Our priority has always been to keep and defend the America’s Cup successfully. We certainly want to explore holding a regatta in Auckland and along with discussing the venue for AC37 with other nations, would like to work through that opportunity also.”
Team NZ will now start discussions with other nations regarding hosting AC37 events.