Many taxpayers and Auckland ratepayers will feel as if they have been slapped in the face by the rejection of a $99 million offer to defend one of the world's oldest trophies in the waters of New Zealand's largest city.
Instead, it appears Emirates Team New Zealand will cast off its lines and sail north in search of more funding than the Government and Auckland Council could muster.
As reported by the NZ Herald yesterday, syndicate boss Grant Dalton warned the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron hosts that the next defence of the America's Cup was highly unlikely to happen in Auckland.
Following the confirmation, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the city would be "disappointed" with the rejection and advised Team NZ must now vacate its council-owned waterfront base by March next year when the lease runs out.
The America's Cup has long been a commercial endeavour tied to appeals for nationalistic support. The reality is, once the flag-waving has died down and the celebratory Champagne has gone flat, commercial interests will suck the wind from nationalism's sails.
RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young summed it all up on Tuesday night when he said, "we would hold it in Auckland in a heartbeat but ... sad as it is, the Cup is all about money. There is no money tree."
Accusations of mercenarism are understandable but not entirely reasonable. Dalton has outlined his fear of an underfunded syndicate being plundered of its talented crew by richer challengers. It's not unfounded, he experienced it in 2003 when the team was raided of its best talent by foreign billionaires and Team New Zealand eventually lost the Auld Mug.
Dalton described watching his former co-conspirators take the Cup as "one of the worst sporting tragedies in New Zealand's history".
He says no matter where the event is staged, "we will always be Team New Zealand". It's a name some New Zealanders may wish to withdraw, as a privilege no longer earned. But this is the reality of professional sport; the New Zealand Warriors are forced by circumstances to be Australia-based; the All Blacks silver fern logo has long been dwarfed by sponsors' brands.
In New Zealand, there are few pockets deep enough, outside government and local territorial authorities, to underwrite an international sports team, let alone the massive monies needed to challenge for, let alone host, the America's Cup.
Dalton has said the New Zealand Government offer was "reasonable and fair" and left a door open to hearing from other sources. "There is money in [Auckland]... but it isn't coming that easy. The phone's not ringing off the hook." That said, Goff's notice of eviction has probably raised the anchor for Emirates Team New Zealand.
We have not been left with nothing for the handsome investment. Auckland's waterfront has been rejuvenated by the regattas, $113m worth of infrastructure still stands. Sports fans will long remember the exhilarating races and the exciting personality clashes that came with the Cup.
These will remain even as, hopefully, the sensation of a slapped face fades.