America’s Cup: Malaga confirms that Costa del Sol AC37 venue bid is in negotiation

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Leading Spanish sailing journalist Juame Soler confirms on his blog that the Spanish port of Malaga has been working discreetly for several weeks to host the 37th America’s Cup.

The regatta bid, to be staged in 2024, has been confirmed by the Mayor of the city at the heart of the Costa del Sol, Francisco de la Torre says the event that would provide “high economic performance in exchange for moderate investment in infrastructure.”

The report makes it clear that private sponsorships are sought to reduce the public contribution.

Later Soler reports that Daniel Pérez, the leader of the PSOE, as the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party in the Malaga City Council and provincial secretary of the party, has indicated that they must study the circumstances of the Cup in other cities, and has asked De la Torre not to “always ask the central government to seek investment” and be “more serious”.

The Andalusian city, located just 65nm from Gibraltar at the entrance to the Mediterranean, is the third Spanish city to be associated with the hosting of the 37th America’s Cup. Valencia was the first to drop out when expected regional financing did not materialise, however there was commitment, yet to be crystalised, from corporate backers who would have had a commercial stake in Cup. When Valencia pulled out, there was was a second bid based around Barcelona, which attempted to have more benefit for the whole of Spain, and could therefore justify federal financial involvement. Soler says in auto-translation that Barcelona, “which had a very advanced project for the Cup hosting, finally decided not to bid.” However despite Soler’s comments, Barcelona has not formally pulled out and is expected to still be in contention.

Although no formal announcements have been made on the venue shortlist, Malaga, is in the mix along with a re-jigged bid from Cork, Ireland – which has the bases and America’s Cup Village located in the city centre. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is also listed – but has some political downsides.

Auckland is marginally believed to be in the mix, however the New Zealand Government appears to have little appetite for the 37th Cup hosting. An exclusive three month negotiation period, ended with the Government offering a Hosting Fee that was a 25% reduction on that offered for AC36. The Auckland Council has tipped in more cash Hosting Fee to the SailGP event than they offered, the organisers of the 37th America’s Cup. A bid by the Kiwi Home Defence got off on the wrong foot from the outset, and the Board of Emirates Team New Zealand have refused to have further involvement with the rogue group.

Sail-World understands that one America’s Cup team has been trying to get access into Auckland to start sailing in September, this year. However all entry applications have been declined – an action which confirms that Auckland cannot stage the 2024 event. All teams, including the holders can start sailing from from September 17, 2022, and new teams can start sailing Version 1 AC75’s in five months from June 17, 2022.

Soler reports (via auto-translation) that De la Torre, has assured that the Emirates Team New Zealand are “very interested” in the city due to “the combination of strategic location, climate, wind regime, culture and history, infrastructures, connectivity, quality and hotel capacity. However the Mayor “has insisted that to look for the cost of this project to fall on private sponsorships.”

He continues to say proponents of the Malaga bid are “talking” with the Andalusian Government, the Provincial Council, the Port Authority and State Ports. The Minister of Culture and Sports, Miquel Iceta, says Malaga would “only” require an adaptation in an area of the port where the bases of the teams would be, rather than the construction and cost of new infrastructure.

Interestingly, the Mayor Francisco de la Torre “has asserted that some of the Cup teams could begin to settle in the city between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. The preliminary events are scheduled to in the first quarter of 2024, the Cup itself expected to be completed about a month before the start of the 2024 Olympic Games, in late July 2024.