Andrew Bray reports from New Zealand
With the Louis Vuitton action, ashore for the last few days, due to go afloat tomorrow 1 October for the opening salvoes in the 2003 America’s Cup, here are a few facts to put this event in perspective in relation to other sporting events.
· New Zealand has a population of 3.7 million (and 70 million sheep) and 5% of the population take part in yachting and recreational sailing. The 2000 America’s Cup series generated $NZ640 million for the country’s economy.
· The 2000 series generated 1,948 hours of TV coverage, 56,000 newspaper and magazine articles and 630 million Internet hits
· The Hauraki Gulf, where racing takes place, has 47 islands and more than 200 anchorages – just compare that with the UK’s Solent.
· The 9 syndicates challenging for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the defending Team New Zealand have built 19 new boats between them for the series. The only team with a single new boat is the Italian Mascalzone Latino.
· A total of 914 shore and sailing crew are employed by the 10 competing syndicates. The largest team is Oracle BMW racing with 150, the smallest Team Dennis Conner with 60.
· The total spend of all 10 participating syndicates is $US 554 million. Biggest spenders are Alinghi Swiss Challenge and Oracle Racing ($US 90 million each), smallest Mascalzone Latino with a mere $US20 million.
· By the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup 400 media accreditations had been issued with 2,000 expected by the end of the whole event. The LV Media Centre (pictured) is a state of the art multimedia centre based in the heart of the city of Auckland in the National Maritime Museum.