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25 January 2005, 11:53 am
Sponsorship Deal Aids Team NZ
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America's Cup 2007

Emirates Team New Zealand and Vodafone New Zealand today announced a new alliance that will see the team's global telecommunications needs supplied by Vodafone.
'To have Vodafone sign up as our exclusive telecommunications supplier is a great start to the year,' said Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant DALTON.

'We see Vodafone as the ideal partner to deliver mobile solutions where ever our people are in the world. The fact that with Vodafone we can be in New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Italy or virtually anywhere with no communications hassle will help us get on with the job of winning races.

'As a business we have an extremely mobile workforce and Vodafone's ability to mobilise workforces is a huge drawcard - particularly when you're working with a team of nearly 100 people who are regularly travelling overseas,' said Dalton.

Secure data transfer will be key for the exchange of highly confidential information. For example, designers in Spain could send detailed information to shore crew in New Zealand using Vodafone services. This will enable real time analysis and feedback of test match racing rather than waiting until the boats are back to base.

Vodafone will also supply mobile services including voice, TXT, PXT, video PXT, mobile email via BlackBerry and 3G Mobile Connect Card as well as airtime. The team has already successfully trialled Push to Talk.

'We can already see the competitive and business advantages that new services such as video telephony and streaming, which will be available on Vodafone New Zealand's new 3G network, will give us in the lead-up to the next America's Cup,' said Dalton.

Products and services enabled by 3G have already been launched by 14 other Vodafone companies including Spain and Italy. Emirates Team New Zealand will have access to these services throughout Europe as appropriate to the team's needs.

Vodafone New Zealand managing director Tim MILES says the company is proud to support Emirates Team New Zealand and deliver them the benefits of the Vodafone group of companies, at home and around the world.

'The opportunity for us is to see an innovative New Zealand team supported by the best the mobile world has to offer,' Miles says.

'This is what being part of a global company is about for us - making true mobility real for customers. Emirates Team New Zealand is like any other customer in that Vodafone will do everything it can to make their business hum, on the water and off.'

The alliance is an exclusive supplier arrangement between Emirates Team New Zealand and Vodafone effective from now until 2007.

Dubai-based Emirates Airlines is the syndicate's lead sponsor, while Toyota New Zealand is one of two second-tier 'elite' sponsors, with the others still to be confirmed.

Dalton said the yachting syndicate still has one major sponsor to sign up to meet its planned budget for the 2007 America's Cup. He added that agreement with 'an overseas company' could be reached within a month.

'When we knock off that last slot, I'll be sleeping a little bit easier,' Dalton said. 'You can never have too much money, but once the next one is put down, that will be the last of the big sponsorships we need.'

Meanwhile, the gear problems that plagued Team NZ during their America's Cup defeat two years ago have stayed away during testing off Auckland so far this summer.

Dalton said that there had been no structural issues with either NZL81 or the former illbruck yacht now known as NZL68. 'We've given them absolute hell but we've had no breaks,' he said.

'I cannot think of one single breakdown we've had since we started sailing in December, not even a hydraulic leak, which is good. Our reliability seems good.'

During the cup loss to Swiss challengers Alinghi two years ago, Team NZ's race yacht, NZL82, failed to finish two of the five races.

The same boat is undergoing repair after it was damaged in a storm while at a regatta in Marseille last year.

Dalton said the testing so far had been 'in a macro sense'.

'We're testing hulls, bulbs, keels, rudders, rigs big ticket items before we start to fine down, and that won't happen until next year.'

Testing will continue off Auckland until the team headed to Europe in June for this year's series of America's Cup lead-up regattas.

Awaited information from Team New Zealand over the coming days is news of a new signing to the team.

Source: Emirates Team New Zealand / New Zealand Press Association
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