Herald sailing expert Dana Johannsen answers three key questions following this morning's announcement that Bermuda will host the next America's Cup in 2017.
Yes really. It's happening. With news leaking out a couple of weeks ago that Bermuda had been selected ahead of San Diego, this morning's announcement was hardly a surprise but it remains a controversial choice and for the first time we got to hear a little bit of the thinking behind the decision. For America's Cup organisers the appeal of Bermuda lies in the "financial concessions and operational efficiencies" the tax haven offers, along with the optimum time zone for television broadcasts for both the European and US markets. America's Cup commercial commissioner Dr Harvey Schiller also believes the more intimate setting of Bermuda will be an advantage, pointing out that in the past events held at smaller venues, such as Newport Rhode Island and Fremantle , had worked well, with the locals fully embracing the America's Cup.
Where does this leave Team NZ?
Following this morning's announcement Team NZ quickly moved to ensure the public that the selection of Bermuda will not be a serious set-back to their campaign. Whilst once again acknowledging San Diego was the team's preference, Team NZ boss Grant Dalton insists the sponsors are not especially deterred by the event shifting to the small, exclusive island as was initially feared.
The big question mark hovers over that government funding that Team NZ are so reliant upon. Following the leaked reports that Bermuda would host the 35th America's Cup, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce admitted it will be harder to justify further investment in Team NZ if Bermuda hosts the regatta. Dalton said the team have sent off their business plan for the government to consider and await their feedback.
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What is this "major event or events" New Zealand could potentially host?
America's Cup organisers this morning revealed that Team New Zealand had put in a serious proposal to host a "major event or events" in the lead-up to the 2017 regatta. While it was initially suggested that New Zealand could be in line to host the America's Cup qualifying series, it is now believed Team New Zealand are bidding to host rounds of the America's Cup World Series, sailed in the smaller AC45 catamarans, in 2015 and 2016.