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Surprise Spanish moves ups tempo of AC37 venue bidding just days before big decision

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 11 Sep 01:34 BST 11 September 2021
Valencia the exit channel from the Darcena in Valencia - Louis Vuitton Cup Semi Finals Spectators at Port America's Cup. © ACM 2007 / Vicent Bosch

Major developments have occurred in the selection race ahead of the formal announcement of the venue for the 37th America's Cup, expected sometime next week.

One of the groups working to host the 37th America's Cup in the Spanish city of Valencia has announced their withdrawal from venue hosting race for the 37th America's Cup.

It has emerged that there is a second Spanish bid that is also a serious player, which is an "All of Spain" approach. It will have the America's Cup Match and its preliminary events sailed at several venues, including Barcelona - the venue for the 1992 Olympics, and Valencia - the venue for the 2007 and 2010 America's Cups.

Following the announcement by the promoter of the Valencia bid, it emerged that there is a second group of Spanish promoters in play, identified as Francesco do Leo, Hugo Moran and Pablo Beltran, who do have the financial backing of the Spanish Government for a broader-based project.

In a written statement, the All Spain group advised: "We can confirm that our discussions with Team New Zealand and America's Cup Event Ltd continue to advance forward very positively with the backing of the Prime Minister of Spain and the central Spanish Government continuing to work with us to finalise details and event proposals. These discussions started some months back and continue to move forward as we approach the host venue decision deadline," the All-Spain group said in a written statement.

"The overall mission is to engage the whole country, Spain, and each and every single community to be part of a world class, transformational event, like the America's Cup. This is not an event promoting a single city, but it promotes Spain as a leading hub for iconic sport events and innovation in field of sustainability.

"The 37th America's Cup represents a fundamental step into continuing to promote the America's Cup as the most prestigious trophy in the world.

"We are delighted to support Grant Dalton and Team New Zealand in writing a new page in the history of the America's. Cup. We are confident that together with Spain, Team New Zealand and ACE will succeed in delivering a stellar performance, that will contribute to engage and excite a global audience of passionate supporters who share the goal to make the world a better place".

Ireland very confident

From Ireland, one of the four venues remaining under consideration, sailing an marine website reported that the Irish bid centred around Cork harbour had been "boosted by a buoyant Irish government' cost-benefit analysis' prediction into the possibilities of an Irish staging of the world's third-biggest sporting event."

"According to an Afloat source, the unpublished report is currently "stuck in the Dept of Sport" but reveals it could be worth €500m to Ireland.

"The figures contained in the report back the Irish bid conclusively the source says and are "€150m of cost to return €500m of hard benefits for Ireland".

"The €150m cost is broken down as €100m capital legacy/infrastructure such as the refurbishment of docks for berthing the high-speed foilers with €50m earmarked as a "current" spend."

"According to the Afloat source this week, it is now understood that Team New Zealand, the holders of the Cup, and its sports management negotiators are ready to announce Ireland as the preferred bidder."

The report is confirmed by Irish mainstream media, which quotes the same feasibility study conducted for the Irish Government. However, the Irish bid is still subject to confirmation by the Irish Government.

Valencia promoters bow out

Earlier this morning, (NZT) it was announced that the three promoters who have worked on the Valencia-only bid for six months have withdrawn their project, but they will contunue with legacy work in Valencia.

"Although Valencia had the infrastructures and an experienced team, after months of constructive collaborations with the 37th America's Cup rights holders, the parties could not align their mutual interests," the group said in a written statement.

As reported earlier in Sail-World, the Valencia-venue group had "had solid economic support from institutions and business organisations of Valencia and Spain. A particular mention for all the major corporations committed to supporting the America's Cup in Valencia financially.

The three promoters of the Valencian bid, Niccolò Porzio di Camporotondo (Founder of H2O Riders Science & Management), Alejandro Fliquete and Carlos de Beltrán (president and manager of the RCN Valencia respectively) and Antonio Alquezar (partner of Redstone Advisory Partners), say they have "worked with firm intention of allowing Valencia to reactivate the local, regional, and national economy through the boost to the maritime industry, tourism, technology, and innovation that the event represents.

"This time, Valencia was planning to use the existing maritime infrastructures and implement a long-term Legacy Program (2021-2040) to reactivate these infrastructures and develop the unused areas to support the technological and innovation HUB that is currently being developed in the Marina.

The members of the candidacy will continue working on the legacy program," the statement concluded.

The announcement of the successful venue will be made on or before September 17, by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand - at least three candidates are believed to be remaining in the running, including Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Cork, Ireland, and always with the possibility of a wild card venue.

Having been the 36th America's Cup venue, Auckland also remains an outside chance - despite not being able to put together a deal during the three-month exclusive negotiation period, which started on March 17, 2021.

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