In the last week there has been a lot of mainstream media beat-up about the location of the America's Cup qualifying series – a regatta that counts towards the Cup match.
John Bertrand and others have been quoted in support of a bid by Sydney to host the regatta and the NSW Premier, Mike Baird, has publicly supported the idea. But what he probably doesn't know is that “putting it out there for bidding” is probably just another tactic by Sir Russell Coutts to talk up the price of hosting the regatta.
The America's Cup Event Authority CEO is notorious for playing venues off against each other. He succeeded in getting huge sums from San Francisco for the 34th Match but was told unceremoniously to take his event elsewhere after the city lost millions.
He then used the same tactics to play Chicago, San Diego and Bermuda off against each other for the right to host the 35th Match, which was eventually awarded to the Caribbean island.
In my opinion, there is no way Coutts won't give the Qualifier to his home town of Auckland. And further weight has been given to this view by the New Zealand Prime Minister's statement reported in the NZ Herald. Respected America's Cup journalist, Dan Johannsen, reports:
The fate of Team New Zealand's bid for Government funding is expected to be revealed this week after an announcement on another crucial piece of their campaign puzzle.
Prime Minister John Key gave a strong indication over the weekend the Government would greenlight funding for Team NZ, provided Auckland secured hosting rights for the America's Cup qualifying series in early 2017.
The deadline for the America's Cup Events Authority to publish the pre-regatta schedule in the lead-up to the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda passes today, although there is no word on when an announcement will be made.
Key told Newstalk ZB yesterday if the qualifying series was awarded to Auckland, it would make the event “a much better proposition from the taxpayer's point of view”, with all five challengers and defender Oracle Team USA expected to base themselves in New Zealand over the 2016-2017 summer.
You can read Dana's full report, including a comment on the Sydney bid, here.
It is inconceivable that the challenging teams, who now wield a lot of collective power, will agree to an event in a country that is not represented in the Cup.
We can expect a decision later this week… after Sir Russell extracts every last cent he can.
– Roger McMillan, editor