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AC World Series - Venice (May 17-20)
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May 15, 2012, 3:27 PM

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BIRTHPLACE OF THE BELLINI
The penultimate event of the America's Cup World Series 2011-12 season is in Venice this week, where nine AC45 boats will represent the seven teams currently campaigning to compete in the 2013 America's Cup. The racing will be Thursday through Sunday. Click here for event details.

While the AC World Series provides a training opportunity for the sailors, the four events thus far have given the AC event authority the chance to refine the format and production tools to create a broadcast product they hope will garner a significant audience to support their commercial sponsors.

Scuttlebutt spoke recently with Stephen Barclay (Oracle Racing Chief Operating Officer) and Dennis Harvey (Head of Production Operations) to learn what viewers could expect in Venice.

Much like the YouTube broadcast for Naples, the feed for Venice will allow the viewer to toggle between the production feed (which includes all the camera angles) and the LiveLine feed (which includes only the aerial angle).

The commentating team, which was first assembled last month in Naples (April 11-15), will again be Mitch Booth (AUS), Gary Jobson (USA), and John Rawling (GBR). Mitch's role is to provide technical analysis, Gary will provide 'play-by-play' comments, and John is in charge of hosting and on the water interviews. This team is expected to be retained for the Newport event (June 26-July 1).

* Changes for Venice broadcast.

SB: "We are hearing good feedback on the format, wherein a race is completed and immediately the broadcast is onboard the boat and able to interview the sailors. Like in Naples, we will continue to broadcast only the fleet racing in the early days of the Venice event. However, a notable change in Venice is that, unlike Naples, we will also broadcast on Sunday the match racing finals in addition to the fleet race finals."

DH: "As for the broadcast production, there is no one thing that we look to improve on from Naples as we get ready for Venice. However, we are looking at everything to see what we can do better. We review our camera angles at the turns, and how the story is being told during the race. We look to bring forward the same resources, but hopefully make the subtle changes that provide the viewer with an overall improved experience."

SB: "We are striving for consistency now for Venice and Newport. One of the criticisms, and I think it's a valid one, is that we kept changing things for each broadcast. However, we found this to be necessary to learn what works and what doesn't. To get the model right. But now, I feel we need to lock in how we do things, not just with the broadcast but with everything, until after Newport. This will complete the first AC World Series season, and if there are remaining changes we feel are needed, we can apply them to when we begin the second season in San Francisco (Aug. 21-26)."

* Describe the level of sailing knowledge the commentators are aiming for.

SB: "The question of who is the audience we are speaking to in our broadcast is a huge debate within our team. Do we say port and starboard, or do we say left and right? Our thinking early on was to 'dumb down' the commentary, but we are now shooting higher. For Naples, it was the first time our commentators had worked together, and by the final day we were all quite pleased at how they were working together, and at the level technicality they were providing."

DH: "It is a very difficult thing to balance as we are covering an extremely broad audience. Our commentators for AC World Series are speaking to a global audience, and some markets are far more educated than others. The range of engagement with the sport is significant. So our challenge is not just how to meet the North American audience. It is much more varied than that. What should be noted is that when we get to the Louis Vuitton Series and the America's Cup Match, we expect to be providing only the video feed, with each television network providing their own commentating team."
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COMMENT: For sailing to build a television audience, the audio needs to improve at the same clip as the video. Commentators need statistical and technical information to add layers to the viewer experience, and need immediate details on fouls. Commentators need to be wary of oversimplifying the action, as it is the intricacy of sport that makes it interesting. The audience will measure sailing commentators by their peers in other sports, and thus they must be adequately prepared and equipped to meet that standard. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

Event Schedule: http://www.americascup.com/...nice-italy/Schedule/

SHOW SCHEDULE

COMCAST SportsNet California (PDT)
Thurs, 1400 and 2100
Friday, 1400 and 0100
Saturday, 1730
Sunday, 1630 and 2330
Also available nationally on DIRECT TV if viewers have a sports package.

YouTube
Thursday - Saturday, 17-19 May
Live: 1200-1355 GMT / 1400-1555 Local Time / 0800-0935 EDT
Replay: 1400-1555 GMT / 1600-1755 Local Time / 1000-1155 EDT

Sunday, 20 May
Live: 1230-1400 GMT / 1430-1600 Local Time / 0830-1000 EDT
Replay: 1400-1530 GMT / 1600-1730 Local Time / 1000-1130 EDT
An archived replay is normally up within 6 hours of the end of racing.




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