SBD/September 26, 2013/Media

NBC Sports Group Gets More Than It Expected Out Of America's Cup Broadcasts

NBC averaged over 1 million viewers for its first two days of America's Cup coverage
NBC Sports Group in signing on to broadcast the America's Cup "got a great deal: it paid nothing for the Cup races -- the America’s Cup Event Authority bought time on NBC and NBCSN and sold advertising to its sponsors -- and used the race production that was hosted by the Cup," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. But NBC "also got lucky, televising a remarkable comeback" by Oracle Team USA. The result "may entice NBC to carry the next America’s Cup." NBC and NBCSN showed "13 days of racing starting on Sept. 7." NBC averaged 1.05 million viewers "on the first two days; through the next 10, including Tuesday, NBCSN averaged about 165,000 viewers -- about twice what it usually attracts" from 4:00-6:00pm ET. America’s Cup races on NBCSN attracted more viewers than the net's MLS games (111,000), but "fewer than it received" for live Tour de France coverage (287,000) or F1 races (203,000). The "most viewed weekday was Tuesday, when an average of 182,000 watched Oracle win two races to tie the races at 8-8" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/26).

ENHANCED VIEWING EXPERIENCE: In London, Oliver Brown writes America's Cup viewing figures "engendered by last night’s mesmerising drama were nothing short of spectacular." In New Zealand "almost a million people" tuned in to watch. Thanks to "highly-nuanced coverage on Sky Sports, non-sailing aficionados" in the U.K. have followed the past 17 races with "unprecedented avidity." Brown: "Naturally, the fascination of the technology has helped. GPS mapping, alongside helicopter-mounted cameras, have allowed viewers to see every steer and grind of these 72-ft catamarans’ passage through the waves." Oracle was "equipped with 13 separate microphones." For those of "a cartographic bent the digital enhancements have lent remarkable clarity to wind direction, currents, course boundaries and mark-rounding zones" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/26).
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