24 Jun 2017

Bermuda premier wants to keep America's Cup 'buzz'

10:38 am on 24 June 2017

With the future of the America's Cup in the balance this weekend, Bermuda's premier says his country would be keen to bid to host the next regatta.

A dancer participates in National Heroes Day parade celebrations June 19, 2017 in St. David's, Bermuda, to honor those men and women who officially became National Heroes in Bermuda.

A dancer taking part in National Heroes Day parade celebrations last week, as the America's Cup regatta continued on the island. Photo: AFP

That may rest with Team New Zealand, which led the defender Oracle Team USA 3-0 after the opening weekend and is committed to taking the event to Auckland if it wins.

Premier Michael Dunkley said his government would love the opportunity, offered in its current host agreement, for first rights to renegotiate should Oracle retain the cup.

The Bermuda government paid $US77 million to host and stage the event, and is expecting a return of $US250m in the three years up to and including the regatta.

"We're comfortable with where we stand," Mr Dunkley said.

"It's provided the impact we thought economically, but it also created the buzz around the island that we wanted.

"There's direct impact, people coming to the island to visit to watch the America's Cup, or longer term, people coming with the megayacht programme - there's about 100 megayachts - for longer durations to watch the cup.

Team New Zealand skippered by Peter Burling races against Oracle Team USA skippered by Jimmy Spithill, Day 2 of the Cup match, 18th (19thNZ) June.

Team NZ would take the event to Auckland if it won the Cup. Photo: AFP

Mr Dunkley's One Bermuda Alliance heads into a snap election on 18 July, which he called to head off the possbility of a a successful vote of no-confidence by the opposition Progressive Labour Party.

The premier said the opposition had warmed towards the America's Cup, having seen the success it had become since the hosting was announced in December 2014.

He acknowledged that if Bermuda had a chance to stage the 36th cup, the asking price could be higher based on the success of this event.

"That's a fact that happens in negotiations, we're confident that if we have that option, and we'd love to have the opportunity no matter who wins, to talk about it, we can offer a package that is mutually beneficial to both parties."

Bermuda premier Michael Dunkley

Bermuda's premier Michael Dunkley: "It's provided the impact we thought economically" Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

The chief executive the America's Cup Event Authority, Oracle's event management organisation, has written in the local paper that while there were no guarantees, the best chance for Bermuda to stage the next cup would be though a win by Oracle Team USA.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs