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America's Cup: Barcelona venue makes Auld Mug $20million richer

by Richard Gladwell/ 8 Jul 06:28 PDT
Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - July 8, 2024 - Barcelona © Hamish Hooper / America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton was interviewed by ThreeNews, which launched the first full night of its new primetime news format on Monday evening.

The occasion underlined the June 20 announcement that Warner Bros. Discovery would carry Louis Vuitton America's Cup coverage in New Zealand starting August 28.

The change of NZ broadcaster marks the end of 38 years of live America's Cup coverage by incumbent Television New Zealand, which began on October 5, 1986, with the first race between the then New Zealand Challenge (KZ-7) and the Buddy Melges skippered Heart of America.

Asked by Samantha Hayes about the new wingfoils that Emirates Team New Zealand has fitted since they arrived in Barcelona, Dalton replied: "Well, they're certainly faster than the last ones, but everybody's like that."

"But at the moment, they're so covered in cameras that the drag on them doesn't allow us to check on the numbers. But on the computer - which is where it all starts - they look just fine. And we've pushed it pretty hard like we always do; they're certainly slightly more radical than anybody else is running at the moment."

With New Zealand in a Reserve Bank-induced recession, the reality of not hosting the 37th America's Cup is a sore point for many, conscious of the boost, particularly for Auckland with the teams setting up now for a Cup in early 2025. To rub salt in the financial wounds the major event calendar looks very sparse to 2028, indicating under investment.

"I think we foresaw quite early what the economy in New Zealand was going to be like about now," Dalton explained. "Certainly, in my lifetime, I don't remember it [the Kiwi economy] being this bad. And we could never have expected taxpayers to put up the money. "

"If you win the event like we have, it costs NZ$100million just to run the event, and in New Zealand, that would be impossible to raise," Dalton added.

[The NZ Govt put up a NZ$40million Event Fee for the 2021 Cup, which belly-flopped economically after the former government imposed 185 days of COVID lockdowns in Auckland before and during the regatta.]

Pushed further on the financial differential of hosting the Cup in Barcelona, Dalton said he hadn't done accurate numbers but responded saying, "It's probably north of $20million Kiwi."

Currently, Emirates Team New Zealand is sailing "every day" in Barcelona. The team's two AC40s are headed for Barcelona, and the Youth and Women's teams will start sailing when sailors return from the 2024 Olympic Regatta in Marseille.

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