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Could 37th America's Cup Be Worth €500m to Ireland?

10th September 2021
Cork Harbour is shortlisted for the 37th America's Cup in 2024 Credit: Studio Borlenghi

The growing international consensus that the 37th America's Cup could be sailed in Cork Harbour in 2024 will be 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According to an Afloat source, the unpublished report is currently "stuck in the Dept of Sport" but reveals it could be worth €500m to Ireland.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.

Last month Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who championed Cork Harbour's audacious bid, said he had put together a team of experts, including Ernst & Young, to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of hosting the event in Cork Harbour:  “EY are in the middle of finalising a cost-benefit analysis at the moment in terms of the financial value to the country of a global sporting event of this scale which many would say is third only to the Olympics and the football World Cup in terms of a hosting a global sporting event,” Coveney said.

The Taoiseach Micheal Martin (left) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney were both afloat for the Royal Cork 300th celebrations late last month in Cork Harbour and used the opportunity to promote Ireland's America's Cup bid. Photo: Bob BatemanThe Taoiseach Micheal Martin (left) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney were both afloat for the Royal Cork 300th celebrations late last month in Cork Harbour and used the opportunity to promote Ireland's America's Cup bid. Photo: Bob Bateman

While that report has not yet been announced its headline figures are proving an important selling point. 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.

As regular Afloat readers will know Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney told Cabinet last month that Ireland’s bid has progressed to the final stage of judging, with Cork proposed as the host venue.

Coveney accompanied a team of specialists on a visit to Cork Harbour in June to assess everything from a site for a team village, local facilities and attractions, and the essential racing elements like wind speed, tides and the racing circuit.

A final decision is due this month, with Britain’s Isle of Wight, Spain’s Valencia, and Dubai also tipped as potential hosts in 2024, although no formal announcements have been made.

The sailing competition has been held in New Zealand on the last three occasions. Still, America’s Cup organisers announced last month that they had failed to reach a deal with the New Zealand government to host the next regatta in Auckland and look at alternative venues abroad.

In March, Team New Zealand (TNZ) successfully defended yachting’s most prestigious trophy, defeating Italy’s Luna Rossa 7-3 in waters of New Zealand’s largest city. Despite its Kiwi roots, TNZ is a private syndicate with no obligation to stage the next regatta in its home nation in 2024.

If the event gets the green light, Cork Dockyard has been earmarked as the likely lead infrastructure in the Harbour.

Published in America's Cup
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