America's Cup lost New Zealand $156 million

The America's Cup might have captured the imagination of the nation but it failed financially.

The 36th America's Cup held in Auckland over summer lost $156.1 million according to a new report. 

The cost benefit analysis identified costs of $744.2 million against benefits of $588.1 million. This is a net cost of 156.1 million. In other words, for every dollar spent, New Zealand only made 79 cents. 

A suite of reports released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Auckland Council show despite being largely successful, the event was significantly impacted by COVID-19 shutting the border and having fewer challengers than forecasted. 

But Auckland Unlimited Chief Executive Nick Hill says major events like the America's Cup often help to underwrite the amenities of a city, providing a catalyst for the development of lasting infrastructure and accelerating longer-term projects.

"The America's Cup has further transformed Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter, opening up new public spaces, artworks, calm water spaces and infrastructure that will be enjoyed for years to come," he says.

"The event helped to inject vibrancy, colour and fun across the city, and created a buzz that was felt Auckland-wide. Nearly 280,000 people attended the event at least once – down at the Village, on water, or from one of the great vantage points that our unique landscape provided.

"The challenge was laid down by COVID-19, and Auckland responded by putting on a great show as one of the only major events with spectators to happen globally during 2020 and the start of 2021.

"Record numbers of people tuned in from around the world to watch the AC75s fly across the Waitematā, and New Zealanders came out in the tens of thousands to show their support.  Those stunning images will remain in people's minds for years to come and we look forward to welcoming these visitors back when our borders allow." 

In response Team New Zealand Chief Executive Grant Dalton said it's remarkable the event was able to go ahead at all in the middle of a global pandemic. 

"Under the circumstances we are really pleased with the cost-benefit analysis announced today. To have a cost-benefit ratio of 0.85 for Auckland on an event that was massively compromised because of COVID-19 and the closed borders to international visitors, international media and superyachts.

"Certainly the world changed significantly since we won the America's Cup in 2017, and essentially the entire organisation of the event was flipped on its head one year out so even just the fact we managed to achieve putting on a successful major global sporting event in Auckland, while the majority of the world was locked down was a huge achievement."