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America's Cup- Team New Zealand fighting to stay in the Cup game

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World.com on 9 Jun 2014
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, with his 2013 nemesis Jimmy Spithill in the background Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa http://www.lunarossachallenge.com
Emirates Team NZ's CEO, Grant Dalton, responded to taunts made on the NZ TV breakfast shows on Friday in an hour long radio interview on NewstalkZB.

Last Friday, in his comments on NZ prime time breakfast TV, Oracle Team USA skipper, Jimmy Spithill, said that if Team NZ were finding it difficult to run a campaign for less money that was spent in the 34th America's Cup, then they needed new management. Spithill added that he knew of several people, who were winners, who could step into the shoes of the current management.

Earlier when launching the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup, Oracle Team USA produced a promotional video which featured comments from several challengers, but not Team New Zealand.

Dalton said on Sunday that omission was a deliberate ploy. 'We're not going to blow smoke up Oracle's ass', was his retort.

In response to claims that the latest Protocol was more commercial than those that had gone before, Dalton commented that there was nothing new in the Protocol in terms of commercial ideas, and that all had been tried before.

Responding to jibes from Spithill as to the amount Team New Zealand management and others were earning, Dalton put an 'educated guess' on Spithill's annual income from Oracle Team USA at 3-5 million dollars per year.

'Dean Barker earns a fraction of that,' Dalton added. He also outlined the office and management staff employed by Team NZ, saying that only he and COO Kevin Shoebridge were on a full time basis, there were others in the sailing, design and support teams, who were on modest retainers. He also said that wing trimmer, Glenn Ashby, had received a substantial offer from Team Australia to join the Challenger of Record.

Continuing down the theme that the Protocol was yet another attempt by Oracle Team USA to break up Team NZ, Dalton questioned why the Protocol had been loaded so heavily with USD3million of Performance Bonds and Entry Fees, all payable before December 31, 2014 - well before even the America's Cup World Series gets underway, and for which venues and dates have not yet been announced.

Dalton believed that was a move to strike at Team New Zealand's weakest point - being a lack of sponsorship income before 2015, and hitting at their ability to operate financially until that money came on stream. Dalton added that at this stage of the campaign Team New Zealand was in a better long term position, than it had ever been to secure sponsors for the next America's Cup. 'But I don't know whether we can even make it to next year', he said.

However the team had to survive financially until those commitments could be realised.

It was revealed on Sunday, in a morning television interview, that the team had already approached the NZ Government last Thursday looking for additional funding through its Trade and Enterprise arm, however the Minister, Steven Joyce, said that was unlikely to be forthcoming, and they were looking to private sponsors and the marine industry to step up and see the team though the immediate period. The team has already provided NZTE with a detailed business plan and funding proposal for the next America's Cup. Dalton commented that the team were providing NZ Trade and Enterprise with very detailed budgets and payments made against those budgets, including individual salaries and other expenses, 'right down to the last paperclip', Dalton remarked.

It has been well publicized that Team New Zealand would run out of the initial funding at the end of June, and the Board is addressing that situation. One of the discussions that was underway was a bank loan, secured against private assets, with the interest being covered as a sponsorship arrangement.

Currently. the team was going through the Protocol is a very detailed way to determine whether it was not so heavily stacked as to be not winnable by Team, and Dalton said they would not enter if that was believed to be the situation.

The full broadcast can be head by clicking here

Entries for the 35th America's Cup open today, June 9th, 2014 and close in early August 2014.

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