Italian syndicate Luna Rossa will have a massive war chest in their bid to wrest the America's Cup away from Team New Zealand.
According to public filings required by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, iconic luxury design company Prada is contributing $108 million to Luna Rossa's challenge in a four-year deal.
The sponsorship is likely to be one of the biggest for the Auckland event which will be decided in the waters of the Hauraki Gulf in 2021. It will give the Italians a big head start on other challengers for the Auld Mug and provide a stern test to Cup holder Team New Zealand.
Prada will pay the sponsorship in four instalments, starting this year.
The figure does not include Prada's sponsorship of the Cup proper or the Prada Challenger Series which will bring the total to well over $150 million.
"The sponsorship contribution has been determined on the basis of the budget for the preparation and participation of the Luna Rossa sailing team in all the prestigious international regattas, both preliminary and final races, of the competition, including moving its operations to various destinations in which the races will be held,'' said Prada's statement to the stock exchange.
"In determining the basis of the sponsorship contribution, the company has taken into account many factors, including the size of the competition and the expected amount of press coverage of the competition, which will attract massive attention all around the world and tremendous press coverage from the media, both the traditional ones and the new technologies media.''
It said the Luna Rossa sailing team is expected to start training soon.
The team will participate in international regattas in 2019 and 2020.
The history of the America's Cup is littered with stories of big spending. It is believed US Oracle chief Larry Ellison spent more than $300 million on their successful defence in 2013 against Team New Zealand in San Francisco.
Last year's Land Rover BAR's Bermuda challenge reportedly cost at least $100 million and Team New Zealand ''scraped by'' on $120 million.In a bid to try to keep costs down for the 2021 event, Team New Zealand has been collaborating with Luna Rossa on the new monohull design to be used in Auckland.
An underlying principle has been to provide affordable and sustainable technology "trickle down" to other sailing classes and yachts.