It seems to us increasingly obvious that the current leadership of the Squadron are unwilling to make any effort to hold the next America’s Cup Defence in 2024 here in Auckland. This is despite sufficient funding clearly being available in New Zealand to host the Cup.
The Squadron leaders and Team New Zealand both say a total of $200 million is needed for the defence. The $40 million committed by Kiwi Home Defence, the $31 million promised by the Government, and Team New Zealand’s own $80 million in sponsorship adds to $151 million.
Sponsorship of the events themselves, challenger entry fees, rentals, TV revenues and other events’ income will come to well in excess of $50 million, just as they did for the last Cup events. It all adds up to a total of over $200 million, which is what the team and the Squadron say is needed. And every time another challenger signs up, that’s another $4 million in entry fees. There are three entrants to date and at least one more expected.
There is, we believe, simply no financial reason why the Cup can’t be held here.
In our view, Grant Dalton’s attempts to deny funding is available for a New Zealand defence are troubling. This last week he told some members that the team “will collapse within six months” and go into liquidation if he is forced to hold the Cup here in Auckland. That beggars belief. We remind members that the Cup was successfully held and won here in the middle of a pandemic just seven months ago.
The Squadron leadership too has written to members three times rebutting at length the motion lodged by Jim Farmer QC and thirty-eight other members seeking to require the Cup be held in Auckland. They have claimed that Kiwi Home Defence has never made its funding offer in writing (it has) and have cast doubt on whether the funding offer is real (it is). In their latest letter they inferred the $150 million Prada spent in New Zealand during the last regatta showed how expensive the event was, but neglected to mention most of that was spent on that team’s challenge.
We believe that if Grant Dalton and the Squadron leadership devoted half the time they spend criticising those seeking to hold the Cup here on actually working to host it here themselves, we’d be planning the party by now.
Which leaves, in our view, just two big questions.
Why is Grant Dalton so intent on taking the America’s Cup offshore to Saudi Arabia, Ireland, or anywhere but here? And why does the Squadron leadership appear to be so willing to allow him to do so?
We believe America’s Cup fans and yachting supporters want it sailed here, the sailors want to sail here, and our past America’s Cup winners want it sailed here. Aucklanders would love to have the event here. Auckland tourism businesses need to have the event here. Everyone deserves an answer.
It’s time to speak up. Email the Commodore email@example.com or attend the AGM tomorrow and demand the answers. Let’s all stand up for holding the defence of our America’s Cup at home here in Auckland, where it belongs.