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What the 36th America’s Cup will mean for Kiwi businesses

Posted 12 months ago in Small business by Isabella Couwenberg

It’s been just over a week since Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) touched down in Auckland, returning the Auld Mug back to where it belongs.

This week, after a hugely successful welcome home parade throughout central Auckland, the team will embark on a tour across the country, with additional parades scheduled for Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Which will no doubt be followed by some well deserved and much needed R and R for the whole team.

As the hype begins to die down it’s important that small businesses throughout New Zealand don’t let the excitement and prospect of AC36 drop off their radars.

ETNZ’s success in Bermuda is an unlikely analogy for a small business’s rocky road to prosperity. The team was comparatively less funded, with only a few loyal sponsors and benefactors. And alone they had to overcome many obstacles, arriving late to Bermuda and the infamous pitch pole, capsizing before the start of a race, which caused significant damage to their only boat. Along with this, they were a long way from home, and the notion of being in enemy territory was very much apparent. The streets of Bermuda were lined with Oracle flags and the supporters piled into the village each day in bucket loads, the on the ground commentators at one point chanting “Oracle” over the loudspeakers. Bermuda was in full support of Oracle Team USA and so were most of the punters.

ETNZ led by Skipper Glenn Ashby and Helmsman Peter Burling never let this get them down. With a strong team behind them both on the boat and in the shed, they put their heads down, sailed well and ultimately proved on the world stage that New Zealand does punch well above its weight.

Actual statistics are yet to surface but initial reports have said that the America’s Cup Village saw over 100,000 people through it over the 22 days and in addition to this there were over 2,000 registered spectator boats. 460 of these boats were visiting from abroad and 80 of them were superyachts. The America’s Cup regatta itself was broadcast to 100+ countries around the world giving Bermuda huge tourism exposure.

Although it’s still very early days, as ETNZ are yet to even announce any of their rules and decisions for AC36, small businesses can start thinking about how they can capitalise on an influx of visitors from around the globe.

The extent to which small businesses can leverage this upcoming opportunity can be as minor as putting in the groundwork now to have a clear online presence on a website and relevant destination websites. Curious punters will begin looking into making the trip and they will begin researching, be it on Pinterest, Tripadvisor, through social media influencers or any other of the multitude of travelling orientated websites. Businesses within the hospitality or retail industry can begin working on getting a key spot as a vendor within the America’s Cup Village itself.

What works for one business won’t necessarily work for another, but the main thing is those small businesses around the country begin plotting and planning to ensure they are in the best position possible to get the most out of the amazing opportunities AC36 will bring!

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