Simon Coveney may have been softening us up for harsh financial realities behind hosting the America's Cup when he warned it would not be a cheap event to host.
But if New Zealand’s “post event” report on the 36th America’s Cup (AC36) is anything to go by, his cautionary words are timely.
This is because, with cost-benefit reports pointing to losses of more than €90m — one of the latest post-event reports makes for grim reading.
It states: “The overall economic return of AC36 was much lower than forecast.
“This was due to the lower-than-expected number of challengers and then the subsequent impacts of Covid-19, as well as the costs being higher than forecast.”
It reveals that cost-benefit analysis has identified that “when considering financial returns only” New Zealand got 48 cents back for every dollar put in.
Last Tuesday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cork South-Central TD said Ireland is now in one of its final stages in its bid to host the prestigious yachting event in 2024 around Cork Harbour.
He talked glowingly of its potential for business, pointing out that after the Olympics and the soccer World Cup in terms of economic activity, the America's Cup is next.
He also referencing the last America's Cup, which finished in March in Auckland, and said it had had millions of people watching it on television.
“There are huge returns," he said.
In the 36th America’s Cup Impact Evaluation Final Report of June 30, 2021, however, it states: “The cost-benefit analysis for Auckland has identified overall costs of $629.4m (€369.84) against benefits of $537.8m (€316m).
“This is a net cost of $91.6m (€53.8m) and a benefit-cost ratio of $0.85 (€0.49c).
“In other words, for every dollar put in Auckland got 85 cents back.
“When considering financial returns only, Auckland got 72 cents back for every dollar put in.”
The report also noted that for New Zealand as a whole, the cost-benefit analysis identified costs of $744.2m (€437.35) and benefits of $588.1m (€345.61m).
“This is a net cost of $156.1m (€91.73m) and a benefit-cost ratio of $0.79 (€0.46) for both financial and non-financial impacts."
Some of the local government contributions included costs associated for work that would have been done regardless of the event taking place, but was brought forward to be ready in time for AC36.
The event — which was the most-watched America’s Cup of all time — attracted 38,745 visitors to Auckland, and they stayed a total of 377,765 nights around the region.
AC36 had a dedicated audience of 68.2m viewers across the world, in 198 countries.
The report states: “The impact evaluation also included thorough consideration of social, cultural, and environmental costs and benefits and, for the first time, has attributed a monetary value to these benefits and costs.
“This methodology gives us a richer picture of broader costs and benefits for this event, and for future large-scale events."