America's Cup close to finalising broadcast picture for 2017 edition
By Jonathan Rest
The America's Cup Event Authority, the organiser of sailing's blue riband event, is close to completing the sale of its media rights inventory for the 2017 edition, which gets under way in Bermuda on Friday.
A deal with pay-television's Sky Deutschland and Servus TV, the Red Bull-owned free-to-air television channel, has been announced in a major broadcast market (albeit not a traditional sailing market).
Sportcal understands that a deal in an Asian territory is close to being completed, while broadcasters are still being sought in Russia and South Korea.
However, the success of AC+, the online streaming platform launched ahead of the first Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in 2015, means sailing fans in territories where TV deals have not been agreed will not miss the action.
The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup qualifiers run from 26 May to 3 June, followed by the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger playoff semi-finals from 4 to 8 June and the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger playoff finals from 10 to 12 June. The 35th America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, will begin on 17 June.
All races will be staged off the coast of Bermuda.
Sport1, the German sports broadcaster, offered highlights of the 2013 America's Cup, but the ACEA has managed to broaden coverage in Germany this time around, with Sky Deutschland to show a total of 21 live broadcasts over the next month. Several highlights programmes are also scheduled.
Servus TV will live stream the opening race on Friday on servustv.com, and will televise the 4 June semi-final. It will also offer comprehensive highlights.
In recent weeks, the ACEA has struck deals with Sport 24, the in-flight and in-ship service owned by IMG, and RTVE, the Spanish public service-broadcaster.
NBC Sports Group, the Comcast-owned US broadcaster, has announced that it will present more than 40 hours of coverage of the 2017 America’s Cup across national network NBC, cable offering NBC Sports Network and the NBC Sports app.
The qualifiers, beginning on Friday, will air on NBCSN. The first races of the America's Cup Match on 17 June will be televised live on NBC.
NBC said it will once again deploy the ACEA's Emmy award-winning LiveLine, a system that inserts graphics into live shots from helicopters, showing which boat is ahead, distance to the marks and course boundaries. NBC used LiveLine for the 2013 America's Cup.