Team NZ boss Grant Dalton says it is unlikely they will be able complete a deal with the Government in the coming days to keep the next America’s Cup defence in New Zealand waters.
Dalton comments came with less than 48 hours until the Government’s exclusive negotiation period expires, with the Team NZ boss saying the two parties were "a distance apart".
“I'm not confident that there will be a deal at this point but never say never things happen at the last minute,” he said after meeting with members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS).
“I think there are other priorities for the Government and we recognise that.”
RNZYS commodore Aaron Young said the financial reality may mean they looked overseas.
"We'd love this event to be in auckland but at the end of the day if it can't be here and we can't create a credible defence then we're going to have to look at other alternatives," Young said.
Going beyond the period does not completely rule out a deal, but it does mean Team NZ will be open to sign big-money deals with overseas bids.
“If there's no deal, matter of a door closing it's a matter of a door still being open and others opening as well," Dalton said.
“There's no doubt the market for sponsorship is decimated, yes companies are still coming out, yes they're making money and they're also being very careful.”
There was no shortage of star power at the meeting with helmsman Peter Burling and designer Dan Bernasconi joining Dalton to discuss the commercial realities the team faces with RNZYS members.
The Government has stumped up $5 million but Team New Zealand needs tens of millions more.