Taking the America's Cup offshore would be a "slap in the face", according to one of Auckland's business leaders.
Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett and mayor Phil Goff agree the public's expectation is that racing would remain in New Zealand if Emirates Team New Zealand successfully defends the Cup.
Team New Zealand has tasked a London-based sports consultancy to run a world-wide selection process aimed at holding the "most successful America's Cup event ever seen" in 2023 or 2024.
Barnett said he believed most New Zealanders, and certainly Aucklanders, would be surprised to hear the team was considering overseas venues given taxpayer and ratepayer spending on the event and associated infrastructure.
"I think most New Zealanders would see it as a slap in the face. They've not been given an opportunity to get a return on investment this year," he said.
"The least Team New Zealand could do would be give them a chance to do that."
Emirates Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton said Covid-19 and the lost revenue from this year's tournament was the driver behind the move to look overseas because the team needed to find a way to come up with the money needed to compete again.
He told the Herald this week the team's first priority "has always been to defend the Cup in New Zealand".
"We are a team that have always existed from Cup to Cup, event to event, so have always had to look ahead at all legitimate commercial possibilities to survive.
"And as said previously the world of sports events and sponsorship is a different place now due to Covid-19.
"In answer to your question about Auckland being in contention for the next America's Cup the answer is: yes, absolutely.
"We want to reiterate again that none of this matters unless we can defend the 36th America's Cup, which obviously is our full focus right now."
Barnett said the impact of Covid was the same for Auckland businesses. He said hospitality and tourism businesses had bargained on being "packed" with local and international spectators but the country's closed borders meant that hadn't happened.
"We deserve a chance to do that," he said. "Team New Zealand haven't had the year they wanted and they haven't had the audience they wanted but none of us have."
Goff said he accepted the America's Cup was run as a business but believed the general public's expectation was that the next Cup defence would be held in Auckland.
"The public, through taxes paid to the Government and the rates paid to council, fronted up with around $250 million to enable ETNZ to host the cup in New Zealand. The Cup Village and the team bases are in the heart of the city, which raises its profile. New Zealanders have shown huge interest in the Cup, with so far over 200,000 spectators attracted to come to watch the racing," he said.
"The council's investment in the Cup was $113m in infrastructure that will remain as a legacy for the city for the future, regardless of who wins the Cup or where it is next hosted. We did not fund the event itself as I and [the] council believe that is not an appropriate use of rating funds.
"But having invested in that infrastructure and having made huge efforts to get it completed on time and fit for purpose, both of which objectives have been achieved, we would expect from Team New Zealand to take that into account when they decide where the Cup is to be held next time, in the event they win."
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said events were "great attractors" for Auckland and she hoped the next defence could be held in the city.
"Furthermore, we think New Zealand will be extremely attractive as a destination and an event like this could have wider benefits for the country."
Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash would not be drawn on the Government's reaction to the news but instead issued a short statement.
"With the Prada Cup under way, and the America's Cup match yet to start, it's too early to start talking about what may or may not happen with the next event," he said.
"We are committed to supporting America's Cup Event Ltd and Emirates Team New Zealand to deliver a successful 36th America's Cup."
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It's the best way to ride.
• Don't forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America's Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.