Emirates Team New Zealand and Spark announced today that Spark will be the official telecommunications and connectivity partner for the team and for the 36th America’s Cup events that will take place in Auckland in 2020-2021, incorporating the Christmas Race, the Prada Cup and the America’s Cup Match.
The agreement means Spark will provide Emirates Team New Zealand with telecommunications and digital connectivity, both on and off the water, as well as exclusive rights to provide telecommunications services and connectivity within areas controlled by the organising company, America’s Cup Event Limited and Challenger of Record 36.
“We have partnered with Spark, in the belief that their expertise in data and connectivity can help give us a competitive edge, and ensure the team is always connected in all mission critical aspects of design, testing and to put us in the best place for racing on the water,” said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton.
“As America’s Cup racing becomes more and more driven by technology innovation, the crew on the boat and the team back at the base rely on the immediate availability of real time data to get the best performance on the water. Seamless connectivity can make the difference in gaining that competitive edge. We saw that for sure in Bermuda and there’s no doubt that this will continue to be a differentiator for the racing in 2021.”
Spark’s Technology Director, Mark Beder said 5G – the latest generation of wireless technology – was arriving at a perfect time to maximise opportunities for the America’s Cup. “We want to make the 36th America’s Cup an international showcase opportunity for many of the advances that will be enabled by 5G – and our partnership with both Emirates Team New Zealand and the event itself will put us in the best position to deliver to this brief.
“Beyond that, we see huge opportunities to use the 5G network to support and innovate with Emirates Team New Zealand and to support the connectivity required for the America’s Cup village in Auckland.
“Digital connectivity is what we do best, and we want to align the development of Spark’s network and services with the spirit of innovation that Emirates Team New Zealand has always shown at the America’s Cup and will no doubt be doing so again in 2021.
“Emirates Team New Zealand and Spark share a classic Kiwi mindset and heritage – we couldn’t be prouder to be supporting Grant and his team with cutting edge connectivity.”
Spark’s new 5G Innovation Lab, which will showcase the potential of 5G and allow companies to test and develop future applications over a pre-commercial 5G network, will be based in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct. When it opens later this year, it will be just a few hundred metres from the Emirates Team New Zealand base. The close co-location creates great opportunities to start testing in live environment with real world applications from later this year.
“Connectivity and communications are key to the success of the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada. We are pleased to welcome Spark onboard and look forward to them providing technology in the America’s Cup village in Auckland that will enhance the visitor experience and offer a valuable service to the teams challenging for the Prada Cup,” said Laurent Esquier, CEO of the Challenger of Record (COR36).