on 31 Mar 2022
The selection process for the next America's Cup, which is one of the most anticipated events in the sailing world, has been marred with controversy
Barcelona has been confirmed as the host venue for the 37th America’s Cup, to be held in September-October 2024.
“Barcelona really is one of the most recognised cities in the world so to have the ability to host the most recognised sailing event in the world is hugely exciting,” says America’s Cup Defender Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton. “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 and certainly having the event hosted in a significant city such as Barcelona will allow us to propel the growth trajectory on the global sporting stage.
When thinking ahead to the 37th America’s Cup and the AC75’s racing within a few hundred metres of the Barcelona beach, waterfront, and race village fan engagement zones it will be nothing less than spectacular.”
The selection process for this edition of the cup, which is one of the most anticipated events in the sailing world, has been marred with controversies.
Despite successfully defending the title on home waters last year, Team New Zealand subsequently rejected an offer worth NZ$99 million (US$69m) from the New Zealand Government and Auckland Council to host AC37.
Aside from Barcelona, Team New Zealand had considered other final bids from Malaga, Cork and Jeddah. However, the Irish government withdrew its Cork bid earlier this week, citing “necessary infrastructural and planning arrangements” would not be in place in time.
Barcelona will now become the first venue in the world to host both an Olympic Games and an America’s Cup event.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern says she is “disappointed” that Auckland will not be hosting the next America’s Cup.
“I probably feel the same way as many New Zealanders,” she told a gathering of local media on Tuesday. “I am disappointed around the decision that’s been made on where the America’s Cup will be held. “As a government we certainly stumped up sufficient funding for it to be hosted here. We wanted it to be hosted here … We put enough on the table for it to be hosted here but ultimately a different decision was made.”
While many in New Zealand will mourn the loss, sailing fans in Europe will surely be pleased with the move. Barcelona has existing world-class facilities for racing, team bases, technical infrastructure, superyachts, and areas for the America’s Cup event village to host fans, hospitality, and media, as well as an average wind range of 9-15 knots during the September and October race window.
INEOS Britannia Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie says: “We are delighted the iconic city of Barcelona has been chosen to host the 37th America’s Cup. The historic weather data for Barcelona shows what a fantastic sailing venue it will be. The marina development and race area in Barcelona will offer excellent shore side facilities for the competing teams, alongside a great event village for fans of sports oldest international trophy to enjoy this iconic sporting event.”
These sentiments are echoed by Terry Hutchinson, skipper and president of sailing operations for New York Yacht Club American Magic.
“We are thrilled with the Defender’s selection of Barcelona for the 37th America’s Cup,” says Hutchinson. “As a team, we are focused on understanding the changes of the class rule for AC37 and developing our next generation AC75. Knowing the venue now allows for a more detailed look at both wind and sea state conditions optimizing for Barcelona. Operationally we look forward to being back on the water later in 2022.”
Team New Zealand CEO Dalton calls for coverage of the news to remain in perspective with wider geopolitical events.
“Obviously all of this news is announced in the shadow of the unfathomable war in the Ukraine we are witnessing right now, which clearly puts everything in perspective for us,” he says. “We sincerely hope there is a rapid improvement in the situation, and we would like to send our strong message of support to the people in Ukraine during this period. We look forward to working in partnership with our host venue of Barcelona and announcing further details in due course.”
Further details on the 37th America’s Cup will be announced in due course.