The 2021 America’s Cup yacht race will be staged in Auckland, after the New Zealand city council approving development plans for the sailing showpiece.
At a meeting on Friday, councillors approved a new resource consent application for NZ$212 million (US$153.4 million), proposed by he council itself, central government and Team New Zealand. Auckland is understood to be contributing NZ$98.5 million (US$71.4 million), while Team New Zealand's hosting fee will be paid by the government.
The agreement follows months of negotiations between the respective parties, amid reports last year that the event could be held outside of New Zealand. Auckland had been scheduled to host the contest after Team New Zealand won the 25th America’s Cup in 2017 when they beat Team USA.
As hosts of the next America’s Cup, Team New Zealand will hold the broadcasting rights and the ability to determine the commercial terms of the 36th edition of the event.
The 2021 event will be held on Auckland’s waterfront, with a base configuration that involves a small extension into the harbour. The plan, developed by Team New Zealand, would see them situated in the Viaduct Events Centre, one team based on the Hobson Wharf extension, while as many as five other challengers could be accommodated along Wynyard Wharf.
Auckland mayor, Phil Goff, said: “This is a time for Aucklanders to celebrate. We are a city that is capable of hosting world-class events and with the defence of the America’s Cup we will be the focus of the sporting world.
“We are going to make this the best America’s Cup ever. We are going to showcase our unique harbour and environment, of which we are very proud, and our city’s innovation and cutting edge technology. Not only will Aucklanders experience the excitement and vibrancy of a world-class event but it means more jobs and a boost to our accommodation, tourism and hospitality sectors.
“This is alongside significant legacy benefits for Auckland including the earlier removal of the bulk liquid storage tanks on Wynyard Point, new public space on Hobson Wharf, a sheltered space for a whole range of maritime events and bringing forward work already planned to improve our city centre.”
Kevin Shoebridge, chief operating officer of Team New Zealand, added: “The three parties have always had the same end goal in mind with different aspects to achieve along the way, but the option agreed is an excellent option easily comparable, or better than, San Francisco, Bermuda or Valencia, so it’s very positive.
“The most important thing is to defend the Cup and make the most of the investment. Moving into the Viaduct Events Centre is the best thing that can happen towards making it a successful defence for ETNZ [Team New Zealand]. For us to move into a facility that will be up and running in a matter of months means we can be launching race boats in April 2019 and gives ETNZ the best opportunity to defend the Cup in 2021.
“Also it’s a great central location putting ETNZ right in the centre of the team and village atmosphere, so from a public and team point of view it’s going to be a fantastic location with the best interactive public areas for people to be close to the team.”