Barcelona, Spain, has been selected as the next venue for the 2024 America’s Cup, rejecting bids from Malaga, Spain, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Auckland, New Zealand, in a closely fought competition to host the prized sailing event.

It was a particularly bitter loss for the New Zealand government and the Auckland council, who saw their $99 million bid to keep the America’s Cup event in their country rejected by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand, winners of the last America’s Cup. By deed, the winners get to select the site of the next competition.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed disappointment that the regatta would not return to Auckland. “We wanted it here because New Zealand treats it as a national event,” she told reporters on Wednesday. “I don’t think any other country in the world treats the America’s Cup in the way that we do.”

Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton was unapologetic. “As Defender of the America’s Cup, we have always felt the responsibility to grow the event, the audience, and the sport of sailing on a global scale,” he said. “When thinking ahead to the 37th America’s Cup and the AC75s racing within a few hundred meters of the Barcelona beach, waterfront, and race village fan engagement zones, it will be nothing less than spectacular.”

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