Pressure on for Irish America’s Cup bid

Published on September 13th, 2021

The Irish Government is under pressure from Cork’s business leaders to keep their bid for the 2024 America’s Cup yacht race afloat. Cork Chamber, vintners, and hoteliers have urged the Government to commit to spending an estimated €150m to stage the huge global sporting event in and around Cork Harbour.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has championed the America’s Cup event being held in Ireland, and played a key role in the bid in June, when a technical team from the event’s organizing authority visited Cork City and its harbor for a range of briefings and site assessments.

The State would face a €150m (177.1m USD) bill to stage the event, but a cost-benefit analysis by consultants EY has shown that it could be worth up to €500m (590.4M USD) to the economy, could generate 2,000 jobs, attract up to 2.5m visitors, generating between 9m and 11m bed nights, and be watched by an estimated 900m TV viewers globally.

The Irish Examiner has learned that the race authorities last week conveyed their plan to nominate a preferred bidder on September 14, prior to their earlier announced deadline of September 17.

However, the Government is still awaiting the completion of a cost-benefit analysis before approving any funding that would enable Ireland to host the 37th America’s Cup.

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said that the analysis by Ernst & Young would not be completed this week but would be finalized “very shortly” and it would then be brought before Cabinet which would then make a decision on whether or not funding would be approved to support an Irish bid.

“We know from previous experience that putting in the effort at the time up front and getting the analysis done properly always has a good return. And it’s important to do that so that we don’t have any surprises later on in the process if we are going down that road,” he said.

McGrath confirmed the New Zealand America’s Cup defender requested “an upfront payment to advance the process”.

Source: The Irish Times, Irish Examiner

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