The Detail: The America's Cup may not remain in New Zealand

The Detail is a daily news podcast produced for RNZ by Newsroom and is published on Stuff with permission. Click on this link to subscribe to the podcast.
The Auld Mug is New Zealand's for now but the event and the winning team are already facing new perils, with the tussle to take the next race offshore, and wealthy overseas competitors eyeing up our top talent.

Today The Detail talks to America's Cup expert journalists Suzanne McFadden from Newsroom and Stuff's Todd Niall about the race against time and money to keep the event here and hold onto the kiwi sailors.

The next event starts today, says McFadden. The whole planning goes from day one. Part of Team New Zealand's success in this regatta is the day they came home from Bermuda they already had a plan, and they knew where they were going to go.

RICKY WILSON/Stuff
Team New Zealand pipped Luna Rossa in an epic race 9 in the America's Cup.

As the defender for the second time most of the groundwork is done, she says. Team New Zealand doesn't have to create a new boat, it is expected to keep the AC75 foiling monohull. The defender and challenger confirmed as Team UK will now work together on the next event. But little else is certain, and it could be months before the venue and the make-up of Team New Zealand is known.

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The sailors are going to leave now and do other things. Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are now away for the next eight months, sailing on Sir Russell Coutts' SailGP circuit and of course they've got an Olympic campaign, if that goes ahead, McFadden says.

Niall describes it is a precarious time for Team New Zealand because the sailors' contracts end when the campaign finishes.

You're back to zero which is a dangerous time for a successful team because they have to retain the key staff. Anyone who wants to come into the game will be looking around, who can we recruit?

That's the period where a team like Team New Zealand will need to have money from somewhere to retain the core people and the talent that they need to go on and mount another successful event.

Niall thinks negotiations have started already, people on the phone to this person or that person, saying, let's talk.

The Government has offered $5 million for Team New Zealand to keep the team together, but it will only receive the money if the race is held in New Zealand. The Government also wants to know who will get the money, such as designers, engineers and sailors.

The $5m offer is separate to negotiations to keep the race. This time the government put up $40m to host this event but Niall says that may not be enough next time.

You would wonder the way Team New Zealand is talking about the need to get a hosting fee big enough to spill over and help support the team.

Also not known is the level of interest expressed from overseas in hosting the event but there are rumours that China and Dubai are keen bidders. The deadline for formal bids was the end of February and McFadden believes China will be a strong contender.

In China now they're really starting to get into the yachting, and they obviously have the money to put into infrastructure that you'd need. I've heard of them building entire marinas and building cities around those marinas now.

Niall explains to The Detail's Sharon Brettkelly the rules around bidding and why the government and Auckland Council have three months to negotiate with Team New Zealand in good faith before other bidders come into the game. But, he says, the highest bidder may not win the hosting rights.

I don't think it will just come down to dollars.


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