After months of delays a venue has finally been selected for the 37th America's Cup, which will see racing return to Europe for the first time in 14 years
Barcelona has been selected as the venue to host the 37th America’s Cup in 2024, it has been announced today, Tuesday 29th March 2022 by the Cup Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand and Challenger of Record, INEOS Britannia.
The process for selecting a venue has been a long and fraught one, with many options coming and going. Initially, the venue decision was delayed from its original scheduled announcement in September 2021. It then seemed likely the venue would be formally agreed in time for the 37th America’s Cup protocol announcement in November 2021. But both dates came and went with a commitment to a venue being announced by the end of March 2022.
The final selection of Barcelona makes this the first time a New Zealand team has chosen to defend a Cup win overseas and will likely cause some upset from sections of the New Zealand public.
Auckland had an exclusive period in which to tender for the 37th America’s Cup, but the sums on offer were not enough, and Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton cast the net wider internationally after rejecting a NZ$99 million (£50 million) offer from the New Zealand government.
Since that time a number of different venues have been rumoured including: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Cork, Ireland; Malaga, Spain and a few others.
In the last couple of weeks, however, the rumours surrounding Barcelona as an option have grown stronger with Dalton having flown to Spain to meet with representatives of the hosting bid.
Spanish news outlet Cronica claimed recently that the city of Barcelona had been chosen to host the Cup and suggested that the city reached the agreement with a bid of 70 million Euro to secure the America’s Cup hosting deal.
The Barcelona money is believed to have come from a number of different sources, led by the Government of Catalonia.
“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,” Dalton said. “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.”
INEOS Britannia Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie said, “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.”
Further details on the venue and 37th America’s Cup will be announced in due course. “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”, said Dalton “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.”
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