A new America’s Cup ‘set-up’ in Cork, which could save the State an estimated €80m in staging costs, has been pitched to civil servants in a bid to keep the city’s hopes of hosting the 2024 yacht race afloat.
It includes a proposal to use publicly-owned land at Tivoli docks for the event’s technical and team base instead of a privately-owned dockyard site in Rushbrooke near Cobh.
This privately-owned site was initially deemed the favoured team base area, given its proximity to the proposed racing zone at the mouth of Cork Harbour.
But it would have required significant State investment, estimated at about €77m, to ensure it could accommodate the America’s Cup event, and the site would remain in private ownership after the event.
The company which is collating the various race bids has now compiled an alternative race set-up in Cork Harbour as part of ongoing contacts with the State, through the Department of Sport, which asked in September for another six months to conduct due diligence on the bid.
The department has also been supplied with a range of computer-generated visuals to help the civil servants assessing the proposal.
The images show the proposed race village set-up on Kennedy Quay, most of which is in public ownership.
It would be the main public and hospitality area for the America’s Cup event, hosting the ‘dock out’ show every morning and prize-giving every evening as well as the main activities around the race, including concerts, food, conference talks, large race viewing screens and live commentary.
Kennedy Quay has hosted Seafest, and the area became a popular public gathering spot during lockdown. It is also close to the city’s train and bus stations.
Another visual shows how the team base and technical area could be accommodated at Tivoli Docks, which is also in public ownership.
A briefing document, seen by the, highlights the site’s road and rail links, and its quayside space.
“The boats would have a long tow to the race area outside the harbour but it is manageable and in line with the towing distance experienced in Auckland, NZ. All structures on this site would be temporary in nature,” the document says.
The document estimates it could cost up to €50m to prepare these sites for the event.
The State, if it decides to proceed with the bid, will have to pay a further €55m for the right to host the event and on TV rights, but a cost-benefit analysis has shown the event could be worth an estimated €500m to the economy.
A youth and women’s America’s Cup event is planned for the 2024 event and the company collating the bids has suggested using the basin in Haulbowline, or colocating them at Crosshaven and Cobh.
And the final visual shows the race area just outside the mouth of the harbour which will allow for marine traffic to remain fully active.