Team New Zealand will need taxpayer and corporate cash immediately after America's Cup, expert says

Should Team New Zealand successfully defend the Americas Cup the Government and New Zealand companies will need to quickly provide the money it needs to retain staff and keep the event in Aotearoa, the NZ Marine Industry Association says.
Team New Zealand lead Luna Rosa in a best of 13 series 6-3, so are just one victory away from retaining the oldest prize in international sport.

Team New Zealand has been exploring whether a city or country could offer the team a fee to host the 37th edition of the Cup in order to help fund the team and reduce its reliance on commercial sponsors.

NZ Marine Industry Association executive director Peter Busfield said after an America's Cup winner was known things moved quickly with regard to teams preparing for the next Americas Cup and a venue being decided on.


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If Team New Zealand won then it would need immediate support from the Government and corporate New Zealand in order for the event to stay on home soil and the team to remain competitive, he said.

If New Zealand wants to retain this they really need to look to corporate New Zealand, Busfield said.

Assuming the Americas Cup was won Wednesday, as of Thursday, most Team New Zealand staff wouldnt be employed because their contracts would have come to an end, he said.

ACE | Studio Borlenghi
Planning for the next Americas Cup happen immediately after a winner is known.

They would be highly sought after by wealthy syndicates looking to attract fresh talent that understood Team New Zealands intellectual property, he said.

They become very hot property, a bit like buying soccer players.

In the past the Government has, within a day or two, provided Team New Zealand around $5 million in funding to allow it to continue paying staff for two or three months, reducing the risk of them being lured overseas, he said.

The Government should underwrite a guarantee this time around also, he said.

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
Team New Zealand sailor Blair Tuke gestures to the crowd before America's Cup Race number 10 against Luna Rossa Prada.

He said Emirates had been a great supporter of Team New Zealand but expecting an airline to continue its sponsorship during the Covid-19 crisis was a big ask, he said.

I would imagine Team New Zealand would be looking for a whole new suite of sponsors.

He said it would be hard for Team New Zealand to stay in business without a great deal of support from New Zealand companies.

New Zealanders have to put their hands in their pockets from small companies to large companies, a bit like in Sir Peter Blakes day when he asked everybody to contribute.

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NZ Marine Industry Association executive director Peter Busfield says companies big and small will need to support Team New Zealand in order to ensure a future Americas Cup defence in New Zealand.

From a New Zealand economic perspective the event had to be hosted on home soil, he said

We see this not as a yachting event. We see it as a business and social wellbeing event for all New Zealanders and that will only be achieved if it happens in New Zealand.

Asked whether the Government would provide funding should Team New Zealand win, a spokeswoman for the minister responsible for the America's Cup, Stuart Nash said: One race at a time.

Emirates has been approached for comment.

For the 36th Americas Cup the Government invested $136.5m. Auckland Council invested $113m on public infrastructure, with a further $20m spent on downtown upgrades.

A 2017 forecast predicted the event would add between $600m and $1 billion to the New Zealand economy but the impact of Covid-19 and New Zealands closed borders meant the event was now expected to run at a loss.

Busfield said 160 super yachts were expected to visit New Zealand for the Americas Cup but due to the pandemic just 20 had made it because of the Governments border restrictions.

The NZ Marine Industry Association estimated that 160 super yachts would have contributed $430m to the economy.

Dickey Boats director Jason Dickey said the exposure the America's Cup provided the New Zealand marine industry was invaluable.

It's huge for the industry, and it affects every facet of the industry.

Dickey Boats had generated some new international sales through this America's Cup but not as many as it would have had the event not been affected by the pandemic, he said.

He said if Team New Zealand won and New Zealand secured the next event then international interest may be higher than what it was pre-pandemic because of how well the event was run and how exciting the racing had been.

People's imaginations have been grabbed by what's been happening out there.

That interest would grow even further if there were more syndicates than the three challengers this time around, he said.

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