High-profile hospitality boss and mayoral candidate Leo Molloy claims he is negotiating with Team New Zealand to host a world series yachting regatta in Auckland at the end of next year.
He and Team New Zealand are in negotiations on how much the event will cost and who will fund it, he said.
"Emirates Team New Zealand is exploring exciting technologies that we need to embrace as a country. ETNZ remains the global leader of added-value cutting-edge yachting, something we treasure and are extremely proud of," Molloy said.
"Next year's potential event will bring to Auckland what we richly deserve and as an extension of this event we will embrace every possible opportunity to conduct future America's Cup events here - where the America's Cup belongs".
Emirates Team, New Zealand said is has been considering a preliminary regatta. "[It] is a discussion point because Leo asked what was possible."
Team New Zealand would not be drawn on if they support Molloy to be Auckland's next mayor nor how much the regatta will cost.
A yachting industry insider, who wouldn't be named, questioned why Team New Zealand was talking with Molloy.
"[Why are they] dealing with someone who has no sailing background to run a world-class regatta like the America's Cup? It also seems an unusual mix of America's Cup and local body elections. I mean who is serving who? Is the America's Cup being served or is it a city mayoral candidate being served?
Molloy also would not say whether Team New Zealand was supporting him to be Auckland's future mayor.
"I guess you can read between the lines. People know that I get stuff done and I'll do everything I can for Auckland city. I consider it an honour and a privilege that Team NZ has asked me to make such a staggeringly exciting announcement. I am by far the most dominant mayoral candidate. It will be like North Korea [with] 'Kim, Kim or Kim', it's going to be 'Leo, Leo, Leo' in Auckland, and I will win it like a tsunami," he told the Herald.
The field for the Auckland mayoralty opened up last week when incumbent Phil Goff revealed he would be not seeking another term.
The other frontrunners in the mayoral race are Fa'anana Efeso Collins, a Labour politician and Manukau ward councillor, and returning candidate Craig Lord.
Collins said his campaign and mayoralty will be rooted in "the politics of listening" and he hopes he can be "a mayor for all", with a particular focus on making housing more affordable and public transport free.
Lord, who came third in 2019, is expecting to better the 30,000 votes he got at the last election given his name recognition has increased.