America's Cup 2021: NZ Government, Auckland battle to keep next America’s Cup defence in New Zealand

America's Cup racing might be over, but the battle to keep it here might have just begun.

On one side, the Government and the Auckland Council are trying to convince the team to host it in Auckland, but on the other side are the very deep pockets of International players.

So what will it take to keep the world's oldest sporting competition here?

Public support for the team is undeniable and after their heroes' reception, could they really take the next one overseas?

"We enter a three-month period of negotiation with the Government, which has the right to negotiate," Team NZ boss Grant Dalton says. "But I'm not going to worry about that today. 

"We'll have to find out how the negotiations go first."  

Dalton has put his all into making this one of the best America's Cups ever, but he has a dilemma - the cash has run out, all spent on making sure Team NZ won.

To raise money to defend the trophy again, they could sell hosting rights to an overseas city, if our Government doesn't come to the party.

Immediately after the final race on Wednesday, the Government committed about $5 million to fund the team in the short term, but any longer commitment will depend on whether the America's Cup stays in New Zealand. 

"For there to be taxpayer investment, we do need to see that benefit for New Zealand," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern insists. 

"I think New Zealanders want to see a Cup, if they're invested in it, raced here."  

For this Cup regatta, the Government and Auckland Council pumped $250m into infrastructure, but COVID-19 meant they didn't enjoy the returns they were after on that investment.

They're desperate to see it stay and to reap the rewards next time, but know they can't afford to throw much more at it.  

"Moneywise, we might not be able to match the Middle East or even some of the billionaires in the United Kingdom," Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says. 

"But what we can do, as a country and the city, is get behind the team, get behind the race, just as we did this time."

Even Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli helmsman Jimmy Spitthill says the event has to stay in Auckland.  

"I'd be shocked," he says. "And the reason I'd be shocked is how much of a commitment New Zealanders - the entire country - have put into Team NZ.

"They've helped fund the team and I actually think that's why the team is so supported. 

"People feel like they have buy-in from the team. Kiwi fans are so passionate, so I would personally be shocked if it wasn't held in New Zealand." 

But how long that support lasts will probably depend on big decisions yet to be made.