by Christina Persico, STUFF
Three weeks on from Team New Zealand retaining yachting’s biggest prize, I am rather tired of speculatory comments and articles on where the next America’s Cup regatta might be held.
For me as a fan – a nutty crazy fan who asked for extra days off so I could stay in Auckland to see Emirates Team New Zealand lift the Auld Mug – it is a no-brainer that the event remains in New Zealand.
And I’ll tell you why.
Prior to the Cup, I was staying in Waihi for a few days. The day I left was the day the regatta began. A little fruit and vege shop on the road to Waihi Beach – the back of beyond, essentially – had a sign out saying ‘Go Team NZ’.
A friend of mine was telling me of a conversation she had in New Plymouth with two strangers – three middle-aged women discussing what the weather and wind speed was like in Auckland.
On the second race day, we watched at the Bayfair Shopping Centre fanzone in Tauranga.
The lady on the beanbag next to me asked me who won the first race, having missed it. When I told her Luna Rossa, she said thank goodness she hadn’t known that before Team New Zealand claimed the second race of the day.
“It makes you anxious, doesn’t it?” she said.
This, America’s Cup powers-that-be, is why it must stay in New Zealand. Because every man, woman and their dog, sailor or not, is behind it. They are checking Auckland’s weather forecast and analyzing how fast the boat looks with their mates.
Auckland and the Government have 90 days from March 17 to present their vision to keep it here.
Take it to somewhere like Cowes, the site of the first Cup in 1851, when the yacht America left the Poms for dust, and yes, there would probably be great media interest.
But you will not have a nation uniting behind it, in a way only the All Blacks at the World Cup or other similar fan-manias can rival.
When Team New Zealand won the Cup, 7-3, at 5.10pm on St Patrick’s Day, the Viaduct Harbour went off. Thousands upon thousands of people poured down to the waterfront. For a time they stopped letting people in, there were that many.
When Peter Burling lifted the Holy Grail about 7pm, the presenters were talking about how far back the crowds were stretching.
Even Luna Rossa’s crew were touched by it.
You will not see these absolute scenes repeated elsewhere. Keep it in New Zealand (ideally Auckland, which has the waterfront buzz, but anywhere will do).
We, the fans, will make it worth your while.
Editor’s note: The lesson from the 2013 America’s Cup was that monetizing live spectating is hard, and in the end, not worth it. The only two metrics was winning the match and gaining broadcast viewership, and it was hard to tell what was most important. Sorry Kiwi fan, but unless your passion can be monetized, you better hope AC37 is in a television-friendly time zone.
36th America’s Cup Match Scoreboard (wins-losses)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 7-3
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA): 3-7
Advancing as the winner of the PRADA Cup, the Italian challenger faced the Kiwi defense in the best of 13 series. After the postponement due to government COVID-19 health regulations, the 36th America’s Cup Match racing schedule had two races per day planned for March 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, and each day after that until the first team had won seven races.