Ireland makes host shortlist for 2024 America’s Cup, although economic impact not plain sailing

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Ireland makes host shortlist for 2024 America’s Cup, although economic impact not plain sailing

Ireland has made it to a final list of potential host destinations for the America’s Cup sailing competition in 2024. The America’s Cup, which was first contested in 1851, has taken place in New Zealand on the past three occasions but is expected to be held elsewhere in 2024.

It is hoped a decision on where to hold the 2024 event will be made in the second half of September. A confidential selection process has been under way since January. It’s not known how many countries have made it onto that shortlist.

In 2017, MBIE estimated the America’s Cup would be worth between NZ$600m (USD$416.6m) and $1bn to the New Zealand economy from 2018-2021, and that hosting the event would create between 4,700 and 8,300 jobs. MBIE forecast that over the long term (out to 2055) every NZ$1 invested in the infrastructure would generate approximately NZ$7.50 of economic activity. 

This March, however, a 2021 loss of NZ$156m was put down to higher than projected public investment, few international visitors, and only three of the potential 10 challengers racing. 

The 2021 loss in New Zealand doesn’t seem to have deterred the Irish, however. On 27 July 2021, Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs, Simon Coveney, told Cabinet colleagues that his country had been shortlisted to host the event. Coveney said: “There were initially 34 other countries expressing an interest. It was then reduced to 12 or 14 and then reduced to a much smaller number”.

He said that the America’s Cup is regarded as the third largest sporting event in the world, after the Olympics and the football World Cup.

Coveney remarked: “It’s a little bit like Formula One, it’s all about technology, designs, speed and of course media management”.

Victory in the previous event is critical as the winners define the yacht design, how the yacht is sailed, and choose the host destination of the next event. 

The final decision on where to hold the 2024 event will be made by Team New Zealand, the winners from the 2021 race. 

Coveney said that, although that selection process was still under way, Ireland could: “host a fantastic 37th America’s Cup, if we’re given the opportunity to do it. And I think we’re right in there with a chance to win”.

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