Thursday, April 21, 2011

Underthinking America's Cup

So today it was announced that the NZ government has pumped $36 million dollars into the 2013 America's Cup event. To be fair to the National government they were contractually obliged to give this money because the previous Labour government signed up a deal with the Team.

"Yes that's right, sign under where it says you will give us anything we want"
What a ludicrous waste of money, does anyone outside the NZ media actually give a rats arse..

...about the America's Cup event? I mean I know it keeps Peter Montgomery employed but that is about the only purpose its seems to serve, I think they may have edited that immortal line of commentary.

"The Americas Cup is now New Zealand's Cup! and I am employed for 5 more years" - Peter Montgomery
None of the other NZ sports journalists complain about the existence of Team New Zealand either, because it means instead of doing war stories, in Baghdad, or Kabul, they can just sit in the French Riveria, or off the coast in Spain, and send back puff pieces about how Team NZ has won some trophy, when they entered their multimillion dollar boat into some local boat race in the mediterranian.

This may get me a Pulitzer...
...but I would rather just chill and get my tan on.
 Seriously no mainstream media outlets outside of NZ actually cover the America's cup, or at least not as a sporting story.
Your are more likely to see a story on CourtTV or the Economist, then you are on ESPN or SkySport UK. The Americas Cup has always been about social elitist sailing their boats against each other.

"I say Old boy, after we have shown these foxes what's what, we should go have jolly good yacht race"

In the recent past it has descending into madness, we too rich men, who both for some reason want the trophy have been fighting each other in the courts over how the race should be played. As soon as the fighting started and when people starting buying our yachties Team NZ should have quit. Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertaralli could probably both buy our country so we have no business getting into rich man's fight, we will never win.
"We have both brought small countries, and we will be having them go to war, to see who is the best rich guy"
 I mean where does the America's Cup actually rank on a world yachting event? There seems to be multitudes of races, and events in the yachting world, which shows the best dominance? World Cup? Olympics? Round the World race? See I would put all of those events above the America's Cup because they have set rules that don't change. You want to win the Gold in Board sailing you better turn up on a windsurfer, and not a Sunburst.

Dave and Fred kept wondering why they kept get disqualified from the boardsailing.
Whereas in the America's Cup if you win the cup, you can change the rules to what ever you want, hence you see 3 mast ships, catamaran's, trimarans, single hull warships winning the America's cup of the year.
NZ plan for the America's Cup if they win it next time.
Imagine if other sports let the current champion write the rules for the next competition.

If NZ wins this years World Cup, look out for some big changes.

The argument many people put forward is it helps promote our yachting industry?? I mean I know we make good boats, but surely if we just sold a good boat to Larry or Ernesto this would be just as good as marketing?


  1. Apparently the last America's cup added over $70 million to our economy through the promotion of our ingenuity and brand to the world, so it can't be bad, but it is heaps of money for a sport that very few New Zealanders follow. It is hard to know how realistic it is to expect us to win the thing.

  2. I can't find the article, but there is a really good one floating around, that argues once you take into account the visitors you would have had anyway, the cost of hosting the event, and other factors, there is no evidence major sporting events actually add anything to the economy, and in a lot of cases they take away.

    Most figures you see like that $70 million, are the profits, not accounting for the losses seen...

  3. If it was actually a valid world sporting event - the world championship of some sort of international body, where teams represented their country, I'd be happy with it.

    But it's basically a massive commercial enterprise with no underlying reason which the govt supports. Michael Faye used it for years to hide the fact that he was screwing over the country. It's meaningless and we should ignore it as much as we ignore "Canada vs USA International Ice Hockey".

  4. The America's Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sport. It is a challenge cup - unlike almost all other sports trophies - "I have it you come and take it away from me." and if we can achieve mutual consent around a challenge, we can define a competition outside of the deed of gift. If we cant agree and the challenge is valid, it will default to the deed of gift rules. The AC33 was sailed according to the deed of Gift.

    Given that its a competition using the sea, boats, and the wind, its reasonable to assume it will still be competed for in another 160 years.

    NZ has many (I dont know how many but its between 250 and 500) people actively involved in professional sailing and boat building associated with high performance sailing (ignoring the superyacht industry). Most of these people are involved part time or full time in the AC.
    The benefits to a nation of a sporting triumph can range from soft to hard - from feeling good to feeling proud from taxes to jobs to new industries. We have a significant boat building industry in NZ arguably because of our participation and success in the Americas Cup.

    I'd be asking why stop at $36m ?

  5. Richard Gladwell does a much better job - articulating the benefits of the investment. He knows the numbers and returns - sailing is not his profession, its his passion.

  6. Gladwells arguement is flawed the entire article he talks about the benefits of volvo, and whitbread round the world races, and the olympics in showcasing the yachting industry. Then says if you get rid of americas cup then you lose you shop window, so he just contradicted himself.

    If Americas cup actually generates as much revenue you claim then why doesn't the yachting industry pay for it itself?? Instead of playing artifically inflated salarys?

    Americans cup may be on water with wind, but its a rich mans game, and they will destroy it before 160 years pass...

  7. Go an have a whinge at Dalts I am sure he would enjoy the debate

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    Want to keep Underthinking? Try one these.