Foreign media may be blocked from America’s Cup

Published on August 16th, 2020

Few anticipated the impact of COVID-19, and now the availability of a vaccine and the beginning of the America’s Cup are timelines sitting precariously close to each other. While the competing teams have been given approval to train amid heightened regulations, concern remains elsewhere.

Radio New Zealand reports how the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said decisions were yet to be made about whether international media would be able to enter New Zealand for the event, but strict rules would apply. They included a limited number of exemptions to border restrictions and media representatives would have to pay for their quarantine.

The lead up was scheduled to start in four months, with the last of the America’s Cup World Series events scheduled for Auckland in December followed by the series to decide the Cup challenger in January, before the event proper in March.

A spokesperson for Team New Zealand, the America’s Cup defender, said the dates of the America’s Cup Match were fixed and would not change.

“The ultimate decision on the America’s Cup lies with the Defender Team New Zealand, as the America’s Cup rights holder and ACE – the event management arm continues to look at all event scenarios at all levels and will adapt as required,” Team New Zealand said in a statement.

A statement from Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the situation was highly changeable, and any decision on the event could only be confirmed if and when the government confirmed any potential further lockdowns.

“While we hope that major events will be able to go ahead, that will only happen if it is safe to do so,” a spokesperson for the Mayor said.

MBIE manager of New Zealand major events Susan Sawbridge said media coverage was an important component of the America’s Cup, but it was too early to say if COVID-19 would disrupt entry to New Zealand by foreign media.

She said representatives of broadcast and media outlets had to apply for the necessary border exceptions before gaining entry to New Zealand. “Until those applications are received, and decisions are made about whether international media will be able to enter New Zealand, it’s too early to talk about any potential impacts on the event.”

Sawbridge said government policy on border exemptions was clear, and there were a limited number of exceptions that would be made. “The bar for being granted an exception to the border restrictions is set high to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of people already in New Zealand.

“All individuals must meet the strict border exception criteria to be granted an exception; Immigration New Zealand has no ability to apply discretion when considering requests.”

Once granted a border exception, all international arrivals into New Zealand were required to go into managed isolation and be charged fees aligned with the recently introduced fee structure.


36th America’s Cup
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAW
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAW

Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, however, it is unclear what entry payments have been made, nor is there knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team assembled.

Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
✔ October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
• December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
• January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
• March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Youth America’s Cup Competition
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1


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