Fuente info Sailworld
America's Cup: Team NZ contests web restrictions imposed by organisers
Twice winner of the America's Cup and the world's most successful professional sailing team, Emirates Team NZ Emirates have confirmed today that it is seeking mediation in its dispute with the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) over rules that restrict the team’s internet presence.
Under the Protocol signed between Golden Gate Yacht Club and the original Challenger of Record, Club Nautico di Roma (since replaced by Royal Swedish Yacht Club KSSS), Challengers are forbidden from having an independent America’s Cup presence on the internet. All America’s Cup content generated by individual teams is contained within the 34th America’s Cup web site. Additionally, after 1 July 2011, the teams' existing websites have to be switched to the America's Cup address.
While that transparent switch seems innocuous, the effect is that the well established sites in turn drive their fans and traffic to both other newer teams and the America's Cup itself.
Emirates Team NZ CEO, Grant Dalton - Richard Gladwell Click Here to view large photo
Emirates Team New Zealand says that ACEA is seeking to prohibit teams from altering page templates, which control the look, feel and personality of the space allocated to them, without ACEA approval and without incurring costs.
While this would not affect new teams, with a single focus on the America's Cup, the non-negotiable Protocol (except between the Challenger of Record and Defender) requires that teams have their sole internet presence on the ACEA site.
For a multi-faceted team such as Emirates Team NZ, this would mean, for instance, that all its Volvo Race coverage (which also runs under the www.emiratesteamnz.com) address would have to be hosted on the America's Cup website as both events, for the New Zealand team are located on www.emiratesteamnz.com. Similarly with the team's Extreme 40 coverage, a rival event to the America's Cup World Series.
Team managing director Grant Dalton says that one effect of this is to stifle the ability of commercially funded teams to raise sponsorship, and that affects all commercial teams.
'I would have thought an ACEA objective should be to help teams secure sponsorship, not hinder them.'
He said: 'For example we are an established team which has been in continuous operation since the 1987 America’s Cup challenge at Perth. We have a campaign for the Volvo Ocean Race and we are competing in the Extreme Sailing Series. We need to be able to project ourselves to the public as we see fit, not controlled from within someone else’s web site.'
Dalton said the event authority, by controlling all America’s Cup internet traffic, was promoting the event at the expense of the teams, without which there would be no event.
'People follow teams, not events.... people are not fans of the Rugby World Cup soon to be held in New Zealand, they support the teams within the Rugby World Cup.'
Emirates Team NZ recently announced a technology partnership with US multi-national Dell. Part of the strategy adopted by the team has been to move into the social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which are apparently not within the reach of the tentacles of the current version of the Protocol. However to interface the web presence of www.emiratesteamnz.com with the three named social networking media - essential to reach the so-called Facebook generation - would be much simpler under a regime under which the team had control of its own web presence.
The other longer term issue, is that if the team complied with the requirements of the Protocol, and effectively shut down its current web presence, then after the 2013 America's Cup the team, which has been in existence for now eight America's Cup campaigns would be locked into the 34th America's Cup site, and would have to make a significant re-investment to break free and establish a presence which would support a multi sailing event professional sailing team.
It is not known how the mediation process is conducted, however it is expected to fall short of a full International Jury Hearing.