America's Cup: Venue decision imminent, as Team NZ boss Grant Dalton gives Auckland 'small' chance of hosting defence

  • 17/08/2021

With a decision on America's Cup hosting imminent, Auckland seems an increasingly unlikely venue.

The City of Sails is one of four locations under consideration, but Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton concedes Auckland has only a "small" chance of winning the tender process.

Dalton says Team NZ have received a "significant number” of expressions of interest from other countries, but he also remains "hopeful" a deal can be worked out to keep the Cup in New Zealand.

In June, Team NZ officially rejected the Government's $99 million bid to host the next America's Cup in Auckland, citing the need for a bigger investment to ensure the squad had the best chance possible to defend the Auld Mug.

"We need to remain hopeful that there is still a chance [albeit small], that a successful defence is held in New Zealand," Dalton says.

"As part of continuing negotiations, we have provided a draft Host Venue Agreement (HVA) to the Crown several weeks ago and are awaiting feedback. Finding the money for the event is crucial, but the contractual aspects of accepting and advancing that money is of equal importance.

"In the meantime, we have been busy analysing the pros and cons of the other shortlisted countries. We received a significant number of expressions of interest 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 defence as well as enhance the profile of the most successful America's Cup team in history. 

“The goal is firmly the 'three-peat', it has never been done before."

Valencia, Dubai and the Isle of White are reportedly favoured locations, while Saudi Arabia and China have also shown interest.

"So watch this space, not long now and the venue will be announced, soon after the protocol allowing teams to plan their strategies to try and win from us the oldest trophy."