The pulling power of the Team New Zealand brand was demonstrated once again on Sunday, with a story on the America's Cup team taking the lead spot on the front page of a major Sunday newspaper.
Grant Dalton, Emirates Team New Zealand Managing Director talks to media at a press conference at the team's base in Auckland.
What was even more powerful was that the story, about the team's much reported media conference on Friday afternoon, was up against a controversial win by the All Blacks over the touring English Rugby team.
The Team NZ story was one of the more accurate ones, but still could not resist inaccurately paraphrasing what was said:
Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has managed to raise $6million over the last week - but could yet need to find another $3m before the month is out to remain in the America's Cup.
Sunday Star Times front page with Team NZ forcing a rugby story off the front sports page
Dalton has also expressed frustration over the handling of Friday's Auckland press conference, saying portrayals he issued government with a funding ultimatum were not what was intended, and it has only strained the political environment while the clock ticks.
The board of TNZ reconvenes tomorrow, including director and top entrepreneur Sir Stephen Tindall flying back into the country in the morning, to continue discussions on how the syndicate can finish tackling its potentially terminal financial situation - facing a deadline of just 14 days before their money runs out.
While timing of a $3m entry fee complicates the financials, as it stands TNZ effectively requires $5m to survive to December and an additional $6m to see them through to the end of February 2015.
Dalton has now revealed he has found commercial and private commitments, including from new investors, for $6m of that $11m total - an impressive achievement in the last seven days.
'In a week we have found $6m of funding ourselves, that is absolutely correct,' Dalton told the Sunday Star-Times last night.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has also suggested that in the short-term, government is prepared to pump in around another $2m of public money, but TNZ must first meet the difference and have the cash ready. However, the relationship between TNZ and both the government and the public has been aggravated.
Joyce reacted to Dalton on Friday, quickly arranging his own press conference in response to reportage on TNZ after it was claimed Dalton had issued the government with an ultimatum amounting to: ‘give us more funding, or watch us die.'
Dalton says the TNZ press conference was not even called to discuss government funding, but instead to discuss the newly unveiled, and revised, Protocol for the 2017 America's Cup - and crucially, to convey that a Kiwi victory was more realistic than had first been portrayed.
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