Timing in sport, as in life, is everything.

Get it right and you're a winner, a hero, possessing a steely nerve or just a lucky so-and-so.

Make a dog's breakfast of it, whether it be a golf swing, a lineout throw-in, or a ramp shot against a quick bowler, and you end up looking like a chump.

In the case of Team New Zealand's confirmation that they're heading for the startline for the 2013 regatta in San Francisco, they had no chance of finding a suitable time to reveal the size of the financial leg-up they had received from the Government.

Consider the backdrop of the Pike River tragedy and the Christchurch earthquake, and their aftermaths, the financial and emotional elements tied up with both, and the Government's digging through the bottom of the bank vault to help rectify those situations.

Now it is forking out $36 million towards an event at the top (read pricey) end of the sailing world, and which will never be everyone's cup of chai.

No time would seem the right time to reveal this news, in particular to citizens of the South Island, who tend to view this as an Auckland jamboree at the best of times.

Talk of winning the America's Cup back as the kicker - Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton's term - to breathe life into the marine industry, creating jobs, and bringing serious money back into the New Zealand economy sounds great.

The Marine Industry Association has understandably done verbal cartwheels over the news.

Independent reports point to serious financial benefits out of previous America's Cup adventures. All good stuff.

But there's a big if. This is a punt. Win the cup and you can start talking telephone numbers. Fail to bring it back for a third defence since 2000, and where's the windfall? This is a success-dependent exercise.

Setting aside the argument that $36 million could be more sensitively and appropriately used elsewhere right now, there will once again be sports bodies queuing up to say "Oi, what about us?"

The problem for them is this is a business exercise, thinly cloaked as funding a sports event. The Government, of course, was quick to spot a "don't blame us" opening.

The second paragraph of Economic Development Minister David Carter's statement said that "under a commitment made in 2007 by the previous Government" the National Government was contracted to fork out $36 million.

He might have added "that Labour mob set us up" but you'll never stop politicians seizing a moment.

"Our hands were tied, what was the alternative, welsh on a contract and risk heading down a legal route with one of the country's highest-profile sports operations", was the subtext.

When the cup left New Zealand in 2003, ripped away by Alinghi in an awful, mast-snapping 5-0 sweep, a large chunk of the Auld Mug's allure, and New Zealand's part in it, departed too.

Team New Zealand will have a desperately difficult job regaining the fervour and profile surrounding those halcyon days of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

For a start it's happening half a world away, and there's absolutely no guarantees of winning the cup off defenders Oracle and their mercurial chief executive, Sir Russell Coutts.

When Team New Zealand won the cup for the first time in San Diego 16 years ago, with Coutts on the helm, it was the stuff dreams are made of.

This time the cup will be contested in 72-foot catamarans. Europeans are rather good at this type of sailing; New Zealand are playing catchup.

Forget red socks and triumphant returns to the Viaduct Harbour.

The challenges now for Team New Zealand, on the water and in the court of public opinion, are substantial.