Team NZ secures sponsorship

But the America's Cup defence will be cash-strapped compared with some challengers

Wednesday February 7th 2001, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
Team New Zealand has renewed sponsorship contracts with many of the same companies that supported their successful America's Cup defence in 2000, but the Kiwis’ finances still pale compared with many of the challenging syndicates.
The New Zealand Herald reported: "Sponsorship costs are believed to be as high as (NZ)$85 million to fund Team NZ's 2003 campaign - up about 80 per cent." That would put the team's funding at around £25 million, compared with the £17 million that is expected to fund the British effort.

But it is hard to see where TNZ is going to get its NZ$85 million from, because each of the "family of five" - the sponsors who supported the defence last time round - have been asked for only NZ$7 million. And the rumour is that these five - Telecom, Lion Nathan (Steinlager), TV One, Lotto and Toyota - will actually not be paying much more than last time, more like NZ$5 million.

The team's general manager Ross Blackman said they were in negotiations with a "second family of five", who will support events surrounding the racing, with names like Air NZ and Fuji Xerox amongst those said to be interested. But it is hard to see a second tier of sponsors paying more than the big five.

Perhaps the New Zealand government will weigh in with some state funding. Prime Minister Helen Clark said the economic impact on New Zealand for the 1999/2000 competition amounted to NZ$640 million, so it would seem to make sense to give her cash cow every chance of success in 2003.

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