UK taxpayers to fund America's Cup campaign

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 15:17 02/07/2014
Ben Ainslie
Getty Images
PUBLIC MONEY: Sir Ben Ainslie's British America's Cup syndicate will benefit from a contribution from taxpayers.

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The British government has committed $14.6million in public funding for Sir Ben Ainslie's 2017 America's Cup campaign.

The taxpayer backing has been confirmed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said the British tilt at the Cup will "deliver a real sporting and economic boost to the UK" and is initially anticipated to create 90 jobs.

The development means Team New Zealand is no longer the only America's Cup syndicate reliant on public, as well as private, backing.

Based on an annual official estimate, the British population grew to 64.1m in mid-2013, breaking funding down to around 11.7 pence (22.7 cents) per person. 

In comparison, Team New Zealand's $36m in taxpayer funding for the last America's Cup campaign, plus the $5m already granted so far for the next tilt, across an estimated population of 4.4m equates to around $9.30 per person.

The British team, which will be known as Ben Ainslie Racing, has also announced it will be based in Portsmouth - one of the UK's prime shipping, passenger and naval ports.

Cameron has described the taxpayer-backed British bid as "historic" and urged people across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to "get behind Sir Ben's campaign."

Ainslie is the most successful sailor in Olympic history with four golds and one silver medal.

He was also part of Oracle's dramatic America's Cup victory over Team New Zealand last year and widely credited for inspiring one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of world sport.

"Sir Ben Ainslie's project is truly fantastic news for Portsmouth and the Solent [major strait between mainland England and the Isle of Wight]," Cameron said.

"It will not only build on Portsmouth's global reputation as a centre of marine and maritime excellence but will also deliver a real sporting and economic boost to the UK. 

"It is a great example of our long-term plan, creating jobs as well as opportunities for young people to develop their skills through apprenticeships.

"This is an exciting and historic challenge and I hope the whole country can get behind Sir Ben's campaign."

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