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.”
Besides a reported 70 million euro bid, Barcelona’s selection was boosted by its reputation as a high caliber regatta venue when it hosted the Olympic regatta at the 1992 Olympics. Its time zones also work well for television coverage, an important factor for potential team and event sponsors.
“We are thrilled with the Defender’s selection of Barcelona for the 37thAmerica’s Cup,” said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and President of Sailing Operations for New York Yacht Club American Magic. “Knowing the venue now allows for a more detailed look at both wind and sea state conditions optimizing for Barcelona.” The event will take place in September and October of 2024 when winds are generally in the 9- to 15-knot range.
The Barcelona regional government said in a statement that holding the America’s Cup in the Mediterranean city would have an economic impact of around $900 million to $1 billion based on the previous event in Auckland.
This article was originally posted on our sister site soundingsonline.com