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TVNZ broadcast partner for America’s Cup

The America’s Cup World Series starts this week, and TV New Zealand has signed up to broadcast the complete series live on its main channel, TV One, beginning with the final fleet race in Cascais, Portugal on 14 August.

The America’s Cup World Series starts this week, and TV New Zealand has signed up to broadcast the complete series live on its main channel, TV One, beginning with the final fleet race in Cascais, Portugal on 14 August, writes David Fox.

It will be the first broadcast from America’s Cup Television (ACTV), which has made a significant investment in the production and hopes to change the way people watch sailing.

It will have a 100-strong outside broadcast crew covering the event, with three helicopter cameras, four cameras on the water, plus land-based cameras. However, it wants to bring the viewer as close a possible to the on-board action, so each of the competing yachts will have four on-board cameras. These are designed to be as ergonomic and lightweight as possible, to minimize their impact on the racing yachts, while generating the high quality HD pictures needed for global television and online coverage.

The on-board cameras will be able to pan, tilt, zoom and self clean so not a moment of action is missed. There will also be 14 microphones on each boat, to capture every sound.

There will be three separate graphics systems including the innovative LiveLine graphics, developed by the America’s Cup Event Authority’s Director of Technology, Stan Honey, and his team. It will insert tactical lines, distances and speeds into the HD pictures, enabling audiences to understand the action as it unfolds. There will also be a full 3D Virtual graphics system, Virtual Eye, to provide a more comprehensive view of the racing.

“The new developments proposed for this edition of the America’s Cup, both in terms of sailing and broadcast coverage, are hugely significant and we are looking forward to working with ACTV as competition gets underway on the water in the AC45 catamarans,” said Murray Needham, General Manager, TVNZ Sport. There is considerable interest in the sport in New Zealand, and the Kiwis (pictured left) were the early leaders in competitive racing this week – even though they had a crew member swept overboard during a fast manoeuvre, which hampered them in one race.

Besides the live programming, TVNZ will carry America’s Cup World Series highlights and show America’s Cup Uncovered, a weekly magazine programme, on its website.

“The comprehensive coverage [TVNZ] will provide, on free-to-air television in a key sailing market, is a valuable addition to our commercial landscape,” said ACEA Chairman, Richard Worth. “TVNZ will help us to deliver a product that is compelling, exciting and world-class, telling the America’s Cup story in a way that is unique in sports today, and bringing the audience right onto the boats so they are embedded into the action.”

ACTV’s new weekly magazine show, America’s Cup Uncovered, will go behind the scenes, with profiles and action on and off the water. Produced by Sunset + Vine, more than 90 episodes will be available through broadcasters and on the website.

“Audiences are looking for different experiences, so we’ve created a varied offering of television programming to really extend our reach,” said Worth. “We’re putting a great deal of time and care into our production to create stylish sporting programming that will resonate with audiences across the globe.”

Read our previous stories for more on how broadcast hire company Presteigne Charter is supplying the International Broadcast Centre facilities, while SIS Live designed and supplied the on-board cameras and RF links.

The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport (at nearly 160 years old). It used to be a one-on-one competition between teams, it now features some of the world’s fastest yachts, the wing-sailed AC45 and AC72 catamarans, and will take two years to conclude, starting with the new America’s Cup World Series this week, where nine international teams are competing. This will be followed, in the summer of 2013, by the Louis Vuitton Cup (July 4 to September 1) and the America’s Cup Finals (September 7-22).