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Team NZ Dispute heads to mediation tomorrow over website dispute

by Warren Douglas on 8 Aug 2011
Emirates Team New Zealand announce Dell as exclusive supplier of the team, and the outcome of the Protocol restriction would be that the team would work mainly in social media. Chris Cameron/ETNZ http://www.chriscameron.co.nz

Emirates Team New Zealand’s dispute with the America’s Cup over restrictions on the team’s freedom to host its own America’s Cup web site goes to arbitration tomorrow.

The Protocol for the 34th America’s Cup mandates that teams’ America’s Cup content should be consolidated on the AC web site.

Emirates Team New Zealand’s position is that teams should be free to host their own sites, effectively creating a mirrored site with the America’s Cup site. Managing director Grant Dalton says this freedom is essential for commercial teams which must fund their campaigns through sponsorship.

'Sponsors are not interested in being on a site which features competitors. We have a prime example of that – our sponsor Camper, a family owned company, competes with the massive multi-national brand Puma which sponsors not only Oracle Racing, but also the event.

'The restriction on independent sites hampers the ability of commercial teams to raise funds. We know how difficult the market is right now. We are relatively well off in comparison to some of the other teams, but we still need to find more funding.'

He said he believed the effect of the rule could contribute unintentionally to some teams not making it to San Francisco. At the very least it could mean some teams would have insufficient funding to mount an effective challenge.

'Emirates Team New Zealand is competing in the Volvo Ocean Race and the Extreme Sailing Series as well as the America’s Cup. It is ludicrous to expect the team’s web site to ignore its involvement in the America’s Cup except for a link to the americascup.com consolidated site.'

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