Barcelona to host 37th America’s Cup in 2024

After a long, competitive and controversial selection process, Barcelona has been confirmed as the host venue for the 37th America’s Cup, to be held in September and October 2024.

The announcement came first from a video posted on social media by Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, followed later by a statement by Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on Tuesday afternoon.

“Barcelona really is one of the most recognised cities in the world so to have the ability to host the most recognised sailing event in the world is hugely exciting,” says America’s Cup Defender Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton. “As Defender of the America’s Cup, we have always felt the responsibility to grow the event, the audience, and the sport of sailing on a global scale and certainly having the event hosted in a significant city such as Barcelona will allow us to propel the growth trajectory on the global sporting stage.

When thinking ahead to the 37th America’s Cup and the AC75’s racing within a few hundred metres of the Barcelona beach, waterfront, and race village fan engagement zones it will be nothing less than spectacular.”

The Auld Mug in Barcelona

Barcelona will become the first venue in the world to host both an Olympic Games and an America’s Cup event. The venue was confirmed after Team New Zealand considered other final bids from Malaga in Spain, Cork in Ireland, and a big-money bid from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The Irish government withdrew the Cork bid earlier this week, citing that “necessary infrastructural and planning arrangements” would not be in place to host the event in 2024.

A second consecutive cup regatta in Auckland had been mooted, but the prospect seemed increasingly unlikely after Team New Zealand failed to raise enough money to stage a competitive defence of the title they won last year on home waters, with a 7-3 victory over Luna Rossa.

Grant Dalton (CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand), Pere Aragonés (President of the Government of Catalonia), Ada Colau (Mayor of Barcelona) with others at the Generalitat of Barcelona, Spain.

On Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told local media she is “disappointed” that Auckland will not be hosting the next America’s Cup, adding the government had offered Team New Zealand enough money to keep it in the country.

Last year, team New Zealand officially rejected a NZ$99 million (£52m) bid from the New Zealand Government and Auckland Council to host AC37.

“I probably feel the same way as many New Zealanders. I am disappointed around the decision that’s been made on where the America’s Cup will be held,” Ardern told media yesterday, at the opening of a motorway in Wellington. “As a government we certainly stumped up sufficient funding for it to be hosted here. We wanted it to be hosted here. So for it to depart is a disappointment.

“For us, we wanted it here because New Zealand treats it as a national event. I don’t think any other country in the world treats the America’s Cup in the way that we do. We all celebrate it but at the same time, we have to consider all the other costs. We put enough on the table for it to be hosted here but ultimately a different decision was made,” Ardern says.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson feels the government’s offer was ‘reasonable’, reports the New Zealand Herald.

“From our perspective, it wasn’t a bidding war … We had an offer on the table for close to NZ$100m with Auckland Council. We felt that was a reasonable offer. But we weren’t going to get ourselves in a bidding war,” he says.

Meanwhile, Team New Zealand CEO Dalton told Newstalk ZB that the only chance for New Zealand to win the America’s Cup again was by taking it overseas, and there was ‘no chance’ of winning it at home.

“In the end, I think we’ve been true to what we said we’d do,” he says. “The team must always come first. Of course, the event is immensely important, but sustaining a team that has the possibility of winning was always our key objective.

“If we thought it was possible to fund and hold the America’s Cup in New Zealand, it would have been there. It was obvious very early on it was going to be very very difficult or you would lose. Now there’s no guarantee we’re going to win over here as well, but we’ve got a chance. We had no chance at home,” Dalton says.

Sir Edmund Thomas, a retired judge of New Zealand’s Supreme Court, has warned Team New Zealand he will sue if it attempts to take the cup defence overseas.

“I believe that the defence of the cup should take place in New Zealand. The public interest is involved and I would wish to promote the public interest,” Thomas wrote in a letter to Hayden Porter, chief executive of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Taxpayers Union has sent a tongue-in-cheek greeting to the taxpayers of Barcelona and Catalonia for “taking the Americas Cup defence off Kiwi taxpayers’ hands.”

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says: “Funding for a millionaires’ boat race was never a good use of taxpayers’ money when we are facing a debt monster and painful inflation. We can only assume that Barcelona has solved all of its economic and social problems, allowing them to now indulge in a NZ$100 million dollar yacht race for the elite. Good for them.”

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union told media it has sent a bouquet of flowers to the Spanish Taxpayers’ Union (Unión de Contribuyentes) in gratitude.

Undoubtedly, many fans will be pleased that Barcelona has won the bid. It is a leading city in terms of sustainability and social impact with ambitions to become Europe’s digital and tech capital. It has existing world-class facilities for racing, team bases, technical infrastructure, superyachts, and areas for the America’s Cup event village to host fans, hospitality, and media, as well as an average wind range of 9-15 knots during the September and October race window.

“We are thrilled with the Defender’s selection of Barcelona for the 37th America’s Cup,” said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and President of Sailing Operations for New York Yacht Club American Magic. “As a team, we are focused on understanding the changes of the class rule for AC37 and developing our next generation AC75.  Knowing the venue now allows for a more detailed look at both wind and sea state conditions optimizing for Barcelona. Operationally we look forward to being back on the water later in 2022.”

INEOS Britannia Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie said: “We are delighted the iconic city of Barcelona has been chosen to host the 37th America’s Cup. The historic weather data for Barcelona shows what a fantastic sailing venue it will be. The marina development and race area in Barcelona will offer excellent shore side facilities for the competing teams, alongside a great event village for fans of sports oldest international trophy to enjoy this iconic sporting event.”

He confirms that further details on the venue and 37th America’s Cup will be announced in due course. 

“Obviously all of this news is announced in the shadow of the unfathomable war in the Ukraine we are witnessing right now, which clearly puts everything in perspective for us,” said Dalton. “We sincerely hope there is a rapid improvement in the situation, and we would like to send our strong message of support to the people in Ukraine during this period. We look forward to working in partnership with our host venue of Barcelona and announcing further details in due course.”

One response to “Barcelona to host 37th America’s Cup in 2024”

  1. Glen says:

    With circa 100 super yachts due @ the last cup event and only a handful coming due to Covid and the massive infrastructural investment made for this, maybe Mr Dalton may have considered this and the substantial loss to the average marine worker and Kiwi before making this selfish decision…the whole country (most of which was glued to the event), including the marine and hospitality (massively hit by Covid) industries could have used the income generated by visiting fans and boats attending the next cup defence alike…. Possible payback to what the country invested in and didn’t reap the rewards of last time.
    Good Luck to team New Zealand….