The Major Events Management Act

The 36th America's Cup has been declared a Major Event under the Major Events Management Act 2007 (MEMA). This order has been put in place to prevent unauthorised commercial exploitation of the event organiser and its official sponsors. 

This Major Events Management (36th America's Cup) Order relates to the 36th America’s Cup and the yachting events held on Waitematā Harbour from December 2020 to March 2021, including the PRADA Cup and the America's Cup World Series Auckland during the protection period (Sep 2020 - April 2021). 

What does this mean for my business?

The Major Event Management (36th America's Cup) Order 2021 restricts businesses' ability to undertake activity which creates an unauthorised association between the event and a brand, good or service. Essentially, this means businesses which are not official sponsors of the events may not use restricted words or emblems which directly relate to the event in their promotions, merchandise, window dressing, signage and other commercial activities.

The full schedule (link below) sets out the list of restricted words and emblems which cannot be used by businesses during the events. This includes the America's Cup trophy and its silhouette, as well as the following words and phrases. 

Restricted words and phrases
  • America's Cup

  • 36th America's Cup

  • AC 36

  • America's Cup Match

  • America's Cup presented by Prada

  • America's Cup Auckland 2021

  • AC 36

  • America's Cup World Series Auckland 2020

  • America's Cup Christmas Race

  • Prada Christmas Race

  • Prada Cup

  • America's Cup world Series

  • AC World Series

  • Auld Mug

  • There is no second


Frequently asked questions

The Major Events Management Act (MEMA) is intended to apply to internationally significant major events where protection from ambush marketing is a requirement for the award of hosting rights.  

Staging an event like the AC36 Event requires significant financial backing by event organisers and sponsors. The MEMA provides protection to these commercial partners of major events from ambush marketing and ensures they are able to benefit from their investment.  

The MEMA protects against businesses and organisations who are not commercial partners creating an unauthorised association with the AC36 Event. One way it does this is by restricting the use of words and phrases by businesses and organisations who are not commercial partners of the AC36 Events.  

Notably, this list of restricted words and emblems includes the words, “America’s Cup,” “36th America’s Cup,” “PRADA Cup,” “America’s Cup World Series,” “AC36” and a range of other designations related to the events and broadcast.  

The MEMA also restricts the use of certain emblems, including the America’s Cup trophy, its silhouette and the event logo. This means these symbols cannot be used in advertising, promotions, window dressing or other applications.  

The full list of words and emblems can be found here. Be sure to read this to avoid inadvertently breaching the MEMA. 

Advertisements using general terms, images and symbols which are not declared ‘major event emblems’ or ‘major event words’, and which do not suggest an association with the 36th America’s Cup are not in breach of the MEMA. 

Words and phrases such as, ‘the racing,’ or ‘yachting,’ for example, are not protected and therefore are acceptable for use in advertisements and promotional materials. 

For example, the following ad copy would be MEMA compliant:  

“Come to the Auckland Waterfront Festival to watch all of the sailing action as the world’s most cutting-edge yachts compete on Auckland’s stunning Waitemata Harbour!”  

Yes, the broadcast for the AC36 Event is free-to-air on TVNZ, which means any bar, restaurant or event can screen the racing without being in breach of the MEMA.    

Bars and restaurants may fall foul of the MEMA, however, if advertisements or promotional materials suggest they are associated with the AC36 Event when they are not, or if any of the restricted words or emblems are used. This applies even when words like ‘unofficial’ are used in the manner of a disclaimer. 

There is no special licensed required to show the broadcast at an event or venue. Again, the only MEMA compliance issue would be in how that event is promoted.  

For example, if promotional materials included any of the restricted words or emblems this would be in breach of the MEMA. Phrases which suggest an authorisation – such as ‘official,’ or ‘presented by’ may also pose an issue.  

For ticketed events or events where there is a door charge, there is still no special license required. 

Again, however, venues or organisers would need to be mindful of how they promote that event and ensuring advertising materials in no way create an unauthorised association with the AC36 Event.   

The MEMA does not limit or prevent legitimate editorial use of protected emblems and words. This means, for example, that newspapers or radio bulletins may use images and protected words for the purposes of reporting the news. 

However, the MEMA does prohibit ‘advertorials’ - where advertisements are presented in the manner of editorials but suggest a commercial relationship between the 36th America’s Cup and a business or individual that is not authorised to use a protected emblem or word. 

Advertorials are treated in the same manner as general advertising.  

There may be special instances where certain restrictions within the MEMA do not apply. This would require the written authorisation of the major event organiser, America’s Cup Event Limited. To find out more, contact  

Activating your premises during the AC36 Event is a great way to gain new customers by signalling that you’re a part of the action during the events. It’s important for businesses to be mindful, however, that all the restrictions around major event words and emblems apply when it comes to business dressing, window dressing, signage, and other branding items. 

ATEED’s business dressing programme for the AC36 Event has been designed to help businesses rally behind the events and Emirates Team New Zealand while complying with the MEMA. Order your bunting, posters, counter standees and other items now!  

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, leave us a query or reach out to  


Want to know more?

As a business, it's important to do your due diligence before undertaking any marketing or promotional activity which may be in breach of the Order. If you have additional questions, please contact  

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