America’s Cup: Standing by for the envelope

Published on August 19th, 2021

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
In the absence of any firm details for the next America’s Cup, this is when we obsess about the trivial, though you could say the venue is not so trivial. While once not on the list of discovery following an America’s Cup, this is life now as we know it.

You see, the only element of the America’s Cup greater than winning the trophy is winning the bid to host it, but any government that “wins” the right to host the next America’s Cup is playing with house money, and the gamble has just begun.

But that doesn’t slow people from moving to the table, because the air of the America’s Cup is intoxicating. Who wouldn’t want to host that party? Nobody thinks of the morning after hangover with stale beer and cigarette butts. Bright lights, baby. That’s what we want.

Lucky for the Kiwi defender of the America’s Cup, the world is large and past hosts are not so quick to disclose their fiscal failures. Politicians like getting reelected, not saving the next city from their mistakes.

So we wait until September when Team New Zealand leader Grant Dalton opens the “winning envelope”. He claims that 2021 host Auckland remains a possibility, but the smelling salts has tightened their wallet, with three others on his shortlist.

The Irish Times report that Cork, Ireland and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia are on the list, with the third candidate being a mystery. Is there really a third bidder or is this gamesmanship? Don’t know, but for the Emerald Isle to get the nod, it is said that more than €200 million ($233.6m USD) will be needed.

“The host country is essentially liable to cover the cost of hosting the event. The case needs to be very strong and robust and has to stand up to independent scrutiny,” said a Government source familiar with the project.

The evaluation of bids will be carried out by Origin Sports, a London-based sports consultancy, whose chief executive Stewart Hosford contends that hosting the race would provide “exceptional value for money”.

Of course, but for the right price, and when the champagne bottles were emptied in San Francisco and Valencia, they found their cost-benefit math was lost in the bubbles. Maybe this time will be different (thinks every hopeful host). Standing by for the envelope.

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