There is a faint, yet tangible, feeling that the wind might be starting to go out of the sails of two of the world’s oldest and most celebrated sporting events.
By coincidence, we have had a pair of significant announcements within the same week.
In New Zealand, authorities quietly conceded that even allowing for the impact of COVID, the last America’s Cup lost them a truckload of money. A few days later the International Olympic Committee, meeting in Tokyo, awarded the 2032 Olympic Games to Brisbane, a minor Australian state capital.
What’s the connection, and why does this matter?
The hard numbers from NZ – combined losses approaching $300m for AC36 – do much to explain why the government and Auckland City Council declined to raise their offer beyond $99m to host the next America’s Cup defense. Facing deficits of those proportions it can’t have been too difficult for them to walk away from Grant Dalton’s venue auction.
But cutting Emirates Team New Zealand adrift from their Kiwi home so swiftly, and with hardly a backward glance, is a major shift [...]