Government provides Team New Zealand with funding to prevent poaching

Marcio Jose Sanchez/2013 AP file photoSan Francisco Bay offered a spectacular backdrop for the America's Cup in 2013

WELLINGTON — New Zealand's government has provided a $4.25 million investment to the Team New Zealand America's Cup syndicate to stop their top design and sailing personnel from being poached as they look to build another campaign for world's oldest sporting trophy.

New Zealand was beaten by San Francisco-based Oracle Team USA, backed by software billionaire Larry Ellison, in a winner-take-all final race on San Francisco Bay last month, capturing the imagination of the country of New Zealand and providing valuable global exposure and networking possibilities to local businesses.

Syndicate head Grant Dalton and skipper Dean Barker had said 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.

Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club, owned by wine tycoon and sailing enthusiast Bob Oatley, have been confirmed as the Challenger of Record and will work with the defenders to determine the format of the next regatta, likely to be in 2016.

After New Zealand's previous challenge in 2007, the government pledged $10 million early to lock up talent for the next America's Cup cycle before sponsors were found for more funding.

The government eventually contributed $36 million to the total cost of the campaign, which was estimated to be around $120 million.

Economic development minister Steven Joyce said Monday a similar arrangement was in place with Team New Zealand to seek more sponsorship options.

The government would act as one of those sponsors, though it would first conduct an economic analysis of the benefits of the 2013 regatta, which helped highlight New Zealand's marine, ICT, tourism and wine and food industries to a global audience.

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