Another international sporting event has been scuppered after being denied MIQ spots by the New Zealand Government.
The inaugural Christchurch round of Sail GP set for the end of January next year has failed to secure the 160-odd MIQ spots needed.
The event was set to attract hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide.
In a statement, SailGP confirmed its application for access to MIQ facilities for its teams and staff to enter New Zealand was declined by the Government.
“The request for access submitted by SailGP included the eight national teams competing in the global sports championship as well as the minimum number of specialist personnel required to successfully deliver the event,” the statement said.
“The health and safety of all New Zealanders, SailGP’s athletes and staff is of the utmost importance, and no special allowances or considerations were requested by SailGP.
“All other events on SailGP’s Season 2 Championship are continuing as planned.
“SailGP and Christchurch NZ remain equally engaged to bring SailGP to Christchurch, including the social and economic benefits it would bring, and are in joint discussions with the New Zealand government to allow Christchurch the possibility to host SailGP events in the future.”
Event director Karl Budge, who was also the tournament director for the ASB Classic that was cancelled for a second straight year, said the sailing competition is still determined to have an event in New Zealand.
“Christchurch was a venue that we’re really excited about,” he told Newstalk ZB. “It was probably the venue that would give us the opportunity to live out our dream; what we wanted to provide as a spectator sport.
“The fans were going to be so up close to the boats and the actual course. It was going to provide something pretty special. We certainly remain incredibly keen to bring an event to Christchurch.
“I know that Pete (Peter Burling) and Blair [Tuke] and the New Zealand team were incredibly excited to be able to bring what we think is the world’s most exciting sailing property to New Zealand and to be able to race in front of their own home fans would be something we would all relish.”
Budge added that the economic benefit to Christchurch and New Zealand would’ve been in the millions.
“A significant seven figure number and something we’re incredibly proud of as a global league. The impact that we were going to deliver for the cities that we go to is pretty significant, both in terms of direct economic response, global media coverage but also accelerating change towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.
“We’re very proud of the property that we bring to market and hope we get the opportunity to bring it back to Christchurch in due course.”
SailGP is the brainchild of billionaire Oracle owner Larry Ellison and Sir Russell Coutts.
In Season 1, SailGP events delivered an average direct economic impact to host cities of $32 million and were broadcast to a total global audience of 256 million.
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