A couple of months after Emirates Team New Zealand announced it would begin offering up hosting rights for its defense of the America’s Cup to the highest bidder, it’s looking less and less likely the 37th Cup will be staged in the Kiwi team’s home waters of Auckland, New Zealand.
Not only that, but ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton is sounding increasingly comfortable with the idea of holding the event elsewhere, justifying the decision by saying the team needs the money if it’s to be competitive.
As Dalton put it in a recent statement: “I’ve heard it said that: ‘Emirates Team New Zealand would be better losing the 37th America’s Cup in New Zealand than winning it offshore.’ Of course, these are comments that come from outside the team, and one expects from people with some sort of vested interest. I still find it astonishing that anyone would expect such a team as ours to set themselves up to lose.”
Fair enough, but as I commented in a recent editorial, the downside to winning at any cost—never mind the fans and government that helped you establish your winning ways in the first place—is that things may reach a point where the sailing public no longer gives a damn.
As for Dalton’s astonishment at the fact there are those among us who are less than thrilled at the idea of offering up the 37th Cup to the highest bidder, if missing the days when the America’s Cup remained, however imperfectly, a “friendly competition between nations” makes me a person “with some sort of vested interest,” so be it.
“We received a significant number of expressions of interest,” Dalton goes on to say, "and that has now been narrowed to three. The expanded opportunities that appear to present themselves will enable Emirates Team New Zealand to retain all key personnel and mount a winnable defense, as well as enhance the profile of the most successful America’s Cup team in history.”
Good for you, Emirates Team New Zealand. I’m sure Cup fans the world over are thrilled.
For the latest on the 37th America’s Cup and Emirates Team New Zealand’s efforts to ensure its gets as much money as possible for hosting rights to the event, click here.