Team NZ meeting with RNZYS as time runs out for NZ bid to secure next America's Cup

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton is tonight holding a meeting with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's members to discuss the 37th America's Cup defence.

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There's been plenty of speculation recently the defence will be taken offshore as Team NZ met with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Source: 1 NEWS

There's been plenty of speculation recently about the event's move offshore since the New Zealand team won Kiwi hearts again three months ago in Auckland.

But before the champagne had even settled, the focus shifted to the next defence with Team New Zealand already taking expressions of interest from host cities around the world for the next regatta.

Despite the bids, our government has the first and exclusive right to negotiate but that exclusivity ends on Thursday.

That nearing deadline has some members at RNZYS nervous with 1 NEWS revealing last week some were looking at legal options and America’s Cup fine print to keep the next defence of the Auld Mug in New Zealand.

If need be, some of the members and their legal advisers intend on testing a clause in the cup's Deed of Gift agreement which states the cup is the property of a club — in this case, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron — and not the property of a winning syndicate or boat, in this case Team New Zealand.

Members told 1 NEWS today that at the heart of the America's Cup is the belief that it's a yacht club race and so therefore it should be sailed in the home waters of the yacht club that holds it.

On the other side of tonight's meeting though is a commercial team trying to stay afloat in Covid-impacted times.

For the meeting, Dalton has brought back the likes of winning helmsman Peter Burling and designer Dan Bernasconi to discuss the commercial realities the team faces.

Just because Team New Zealand and the Government haven't yet reached a deal, it doesn't mean there won't be one but the problem is money with sponsorship dollars drying up and commercial partners wanting guarantees they'll get a return on their investment, which is practically impossible in Covid times.

That makes a host city "fee" crucial for the Kiwis' budget, with places in the Middle East and Europe reportedly happy to hand over millions for the event.

The Government has already stumped up $5 million but Team New Zealand still needs tens of millions more.