Barcelona was announced yesterday as host of the event in 2024, seeing off bids from Malaga, Jeddah and Cork.
Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton had come under pressure to keep the 37th edition in Auckland, given significant public funding and investment in the city’s infrastructure ahead of the 2021 regatta, when the defenders beat Italy’s Luna Rossa syndicate in the final series.
However, Dalton said lucrative hosting rights were put out to tender when a government offer came up well short of the figure required to retain their key boat design and engineering personnel.
The decision has been greeted with broad public disappointment in New Zealand, where a wave of nationalism has accompanied previous Team NZ campaigns.
Dalton told Radio New Zealand his team would have little chance of retaining the silverware in home waters against better-resourced rivals.
“If we thought for one second that we could be competitive, with a realistic chance of winning the Cup in New Zealand, then that’s where we’d be,” he said.
“What would New Zealanders think of an organisation which would lie down and be run over by a truck, and would give away the America’s Cup that they’d worked so hard to get?
“I can assure you that if we lose it in New Zealand, it will be gone forever, and the team will be gone.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has previously expressed a desire for the event venue to stay put but conceded “these decisions aren’t just down to us”.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said every challenger who contested last year’s event was opposed to a move offshore “but not Team New Zealand, which has some irony”.
“Most of us regard the America’s Cup as an international sporting event but, in fact, it’s a business venture,” he said.
“While not a surprise to Aucklanders, it will come as a considerable disappointment.”