Yesterday the New Zealand media reported that the defenders have rejected a combined offer of about $75m US from the NZ Government and Auckland Council for the right to remain as the venue for the next challenge. They want more, and are shopping the event around the world.
However, it It’s likely that the media report about the defenders rejecting the initial combined offer from the NZ government and Auckland City Council was a strategic leak to lever up the bid. The government and Council have “first best offer” rights to bid for the venue until mid-June, then it’s open slather. But who else, seriously, would want to take it on?
The locals are also in a bit of a financial bind. They – privately – admit that what they paid for the last America’s Cup could only really be recovered (if that) over two defense cycles. Then the COVID restrictions punched a huge whole in their estimated receipts for the first series just concluded. So now they’re in a position of having to throw good money after half-bad in the hope of somehow breaking even.
And there’s another twist. What if Emirates Team NZ accepts the Deed of Gift challenge from the UK team – and lose? Who would then own the rights? The whole thing is incredibly murky – and has nothing to do with sailing. Money has an awful way of corrupting sport.
The blame for all this goes back to when Alinghi won for the Swiss. Without an appropriate stretch of water in Switzerland, the defenders did a deal with Valencia. That started the rot that lead to Bermuda, etc.
The Olympics have been corrupted by the same process. Cities bid against each other to host the Games, make extravagant promises, and then waste billions of taxpayer dollars on a two-week event. I believe this whole, crazy situation could be fixed by building a permanent Olympic venue somewhere – maybe Athens – and holding the Games there every four years.
Ditto the AC. Everyone back to Newport! (It is called the America’s Cup, after all.) Title inspiration thanks to The Style Council.