New Zealand's government has provided a NZ$5M ($4.2M) investment to the Team New Zealand America's Cup syndicate to stop its top design and sailing personnel being poached "as they look to build another campaign for world's oldest sporting trophy," according to Greg Stutchbury of REUTERS. Team New Zealand was beaten by holders OracleTeam USA "capturing the imagination of the nation and providing valuable global exposure and networking possibilities to local businesses." Syndicate head Grant Dalton and skipper Dean Barker had said that "key design and sailing personnel had been approached by rival syndicates hours after the final race and funding needed to be secured quickly if the team was to remain intact for a future challenge." Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said, "Cabinet agreed to provide $5 million in bridging funding to Team New Zealand to ensure key team members including designers, sailors, support crew and administration staff are secured until May 2014, by which time Team New Zealand plans to finalize a decision on its involvement in the next regatta" (REUTERS, 10/21). In Auckland, Claire Trevett wrote Joyce said thay "there are no strings attached" to the NZ$5M funding for Team NZ. He said that future funding if a challenge went ahead "would probably be on a similar basis to last time in which the Government put in one third of the total funding raised." That came to NZ$36M. Joyce said that it was a tricky time as other syndicates started "sniffing around" and delaying would mean that "other challengers got a head start in areas such as sponsorships" (NZ HERALD, 10/21). In Sydney, Nicole Jeffery wrote Olympic Gold Medalist Tom Slingsby said that Australia's new America's Cup challenge "has just weeks to put key personnel in place if it is to beat foreign challenges to Australia's best sailing talent." Slingsby, 29, "is one of those most in demand after serving as the strategist on the winning Oracle Team USA boat in San Francisco last month", and revealed that a number of challengers had already beaten a path to his door on the New South Wales central coast since that victory. He has also had discussions with Sandy Oatley who, with his father, billionaire winemaker Bob Oatley, "is heading the Australian challenge." Slingsby: "They have to act really fast. After the cup, there's a sort of transfer window. Less than a week after the cup I had a few teams approach me and I have been in talks with a lot of them. It would be great to represent my country but I have to make a smart decision for my career and at the moment I am with the defender so I am already in the final" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/22).
Events and Attractions
The smallest crowd in Australian MotoGP's recent history at Phillip Island "turned out to witness Jorge Lorenzo win one of the most dramatic Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix ever," according to Roje Adaimy of the AAP. A "lowly 31,500 people walked through the gates on Sunday, the lowest race-day attendance since the seaside Victorian circuit began regularly hosting the event" in '97. It was well below last year's 53,100-strong crowd "that watched Australia's Casey Stoner claim his sixth consecutive victory at the track before retiring." Organizers said that "they expected smaller crowds this year given Stoner's absence." A total of 77,200 people attended over the three days; "only in 2001 was it lower when 75,870 went" (AAP, 10/21).
Jumeirah Golf Estates, the venue for The European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, "has been named on Monday as the ninth European Tour destination, marking an expansion into the Middle East for the growing network of venues under the European Tour Properties banner." The announcement "coincides with the launch of the second state-of-the-art European Tour Performance Institute" located at the venue (GULF NEWS, 10/21). ... The Qatar Sport Press Committee opened the exec committee meeting of the Int'l Sports Press Association (AIPS) on Monday. The four-day meeting "will be held on the sidelines of the FINA Swimming World Cup currently being held at Hamad Aquatic Centre" (THE PENINSULA, 10/21). ... Australia and New Zealand "seems odds-on to host" the next Rugby World Cup, "but the game's traditional strongholds will be forced to wait until January for confirmation" as the Rugby League Int'l Federation also considers a bid from South Africa. The trans-Tasman rivals are strong favorites to host the '17 tournament, "but South Africa has offered an alternative submission" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/22). ... Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV) President Peter Schröcksnadel "is not quitting his fight to bring a World Cup event to Vienna." In addition, he calls for an Olympic bid of the Austrian capital. Schröcksnadel: "The mountains are closer to the city than in other Olympic cities" (KURIER, 10/20).