It’s Official — 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona
After much hand-wringing and speculation about a variety of possible venues, Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have announced they will host the next America’s Cup in Barcelona, Spain, in 2024. This is a huge disappointment to the many America’s Cup fans in New Zealand and to the local New Zealand marine and tourism trades. It’s not an unknown feeling to sailors in San Francisco, who watched Oracle Team USA win an amazing comeback victory on San Francisco Bay in 2013, only to have the team pack up the tents and move the event to Bermuda. Was it the lost ‘hometown advantage’ that allowed the Kiwis to wrest the Cup from the Americans? Barcelona is a beautiful sailing city and did host the Summer Olympics in 1992, so it should attract big European sailing audiences to excellent sailing conditions for the Cup.
Besides the possibility of defending the Cup on the home turf in Auckland, the other major destinations under consideration for hosting the Cup included Cork in Ireland, Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Malaga in Spain.
At present, there are four teams challenging Emirates Team New Zealand for the Cup: INEOS Britannia (GBR), Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI), Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA), and NYYC American Magic (USA). More teams could join the fray, as the entry period runs until July 31, 2022, though late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023.
Now all the weather homework done in New Zealand will be put back on the shelf as the teams move their weather and design gurus to study the conditions around Barcelona.
It may be (as it was in SF for the Cup defense that ultimately was held in Bermuda) that Barcelona gave the defenders a “better deal.” Ellison tried to extort SF for all kinds of things, including rights to waterfront real estate for long term below market leases.
Whether it is a baseball team looking for a city to (Oakland) give it billions for a stadium or a sail team looking for similar consideration, the game, as always is money. Like the recently held F1 race, the A/C has lost much of its charm and appeal!