It started as perhaps a piece of wishful thinking but Cork’s bid to stage the America’s Cup, the largest event in the world of Sailing appears to be accelerating.

The event has been staged in Aukland for the last four renewals and Team New Zealand as the reigning Champions are a key decision-maker in determining the next staging in 2024.

New Zealand and the City of Aukland have been unable to agree terms to host an unprecedented fifth renewal and earlier suggestions of a short and sharp selection process now seems to be narrowing to a straight head to head between Cork and Valencia in Spain, with the possible inclusion of Dubai as a contender from the Middle East.

The Spanish city hosted the event in 2007 and there are supposed to be misgivings about some of the debt that was incurred at that time. Those were the heady days before the crash of that same year and bids since then have been run on a more realistic basis.

The economic value assigned to Aukland from staging the event is north of €400 million and while these numbers can be made up of many moving parts, there is value to be had.

The participating boats are likely to come from New Zealand, New York and Team GB led by Olympian Ben Ainslie, with whom our own Annalise Murphy spent a period of time post her Rio Olympics Silver Medal, as well as others.

The TV audience last time out was just shy of one billion putting it among the most-watched sporting spectacles on the planet and the technology advances that the event has cultivated would be a huge boost for our own sports technology ecosystem.

Cork Harbour is one of the world’s largest and there is a development site of 18 acres which is reported to have been put in the mix as a potential base for the event.

Watching an Olympic Games with no spectators and recently suffering the pain of having four games in the Euro’s taken away are hard. But the world will bounce back and sport will play a key part.

We know that Ireland will host the Europa League Final at the Aviva Stadium in 2024, and the Ryder cup at Adare manor in 2027. There is still the potential of a bid to co-host the FIFA World Cup with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2030.

Wouldn’t it be some decade to look forward to if the America’s Cup in Cork was added to that sparkling list…

 

 

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