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Posts Tagged ‘America’s Cup’

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Extinct.  Ancient.  Deadly. From pre-historic times.  Once-feared, but presumed dead.  Defeated by modern technology.    Whatever we’re talking about, it’s back, and it’s already in Bermuda, the next America’s Cup venue.

Are we talking about the return of the measles, last seen in BDA more than 25 years ago?

Or is it something  far more frightening?

 

February 12th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 12.28.21 PMWe promised Larry back in December that we’d closed the chapter on our excessive whinging and criticism of the America’s Cup.  And in that new light, we analyze yesterday’s big TV announcement from Cup Commercial Commissioner Dr. Harvey Schiller.

The America’s Cup has selected NBC Sports Group as its partner for the upcoming edition of the America’s Cup – including the America’s Cup World Series events (2015-16), and the America’s Cup Qualifiers, Playoffs and America’s Cup Finals (2017).

So far, so good.  As long as you don’t claim you were shot down by RPG fire in a Chinook, there’s nothing wrong with NBC at all! Given the network’s recent efforts to move to a more international audience with a focus on Premier League Football and Formula 1 , it’s probably the best mainstream choice for American sailing. For context, and in case you don’t remember, NBC and its regional cable stepchild the NBC Sports Network showed the Cup the last time around, drawing a million or so viewers during the first weekend on the national network, and then around 100-200,000 viewers when it moved to the cable channel.  You might also remember that the main network NBC chose not exercise their option to broadcast the final two races of the biggest comeback in the history of sport – apparently, there was some regional golf tournament that was far more important to all of the US – and relegated the comeback to cable.

“We are delighted to announce this agreement with NBC Sports Group,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup. “This is a great deal for the America’s Cup, our teams and our partners. NBC Sports Group’s continued interest reflects the growing popularity, as well as potential additional growth, of the America’s Cup as a major television sport.”

It’s really, really early for anyone to be talking about ‘growing popularity’ of the America’s Cup, and we’re hoping Dr. Harvey steps well back from the same overpromising cliff that shat out former ACEA boss Richard Worth and made Russell Coutts’ name synonymous with ‘sports media failure’.

NBC and NBCSN were the US television home for the last America’s Cup, in which ORACLE TEAM USA staged one of the greatest comebacks in sport to retain the trophy for the United States. The television coverage was widely acclaimed and saw the development of the Emmy Award-winning on screen graphics package, AC LiveLine, which enhanced the viewing experience by making the sport more engaging and more easily understood, especially for new fans.

Damned straight – Stan Honey’s Liveline was awesome.  It’s unfortunate that it was not enough to turn AC34 into an audience success, as the costs of developing Liveline helped transform AC34 into one of the most expensive sporting events in the history of the world, on a per-viewer basis.

“We are excited to once again showcase the best sailing in the world to a national audience,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC and NBCSN. “The 2013 America’s Cup served as the setting for one of the greatest comebacks in recent sports history, and we will again leverage the full collection of broadcast, cable and online platforms of the NBC Sports Group to present the race for the oldest trophy in international sports.”

We told you we’d closed the chapter on our unnecessary critiques of the America’s Cup, but we can’t let this corporate douchebag get away with this one: Does Miller not know that NBC turned down the opportunity to broadcast that that ‘greatest comeback’ to a real American audience?  Apparently, he thinks that NBC ‘leveraged the full collection of…’ oh, forget it – reading these quotes is like going to the dentist.  Mark our words: Whether it’s by pre-empting Youtube, failing to promote, or relegating the sailing to cable, NBC will almost assuredly fuck the sailing public.

Highlights of the agreement between NBC Sports Group and the America’s Cup include:
  * Live coverage on NBC on both weekends of the America’s Cup Finals 2017
  * Extensive live coverage of the America’s Cup Playoffs (and additional America’s Cup Finals racing) on NBC and NBCSN
  * Coverage of all America’s Cup World Series events in 2015 and 2016 on NBCSN
  * Live-streaming of all NBC and NBCSN telecasts on NBC Sports Live Extra

What about the qualifiers?  We understand they are to be held in Auckland, but why aren’t they listed here?  Oversight?

“It’s encouraging to have a partner like NBC who is highly motivated to return and help build and promote the event and increase the profile of our athletes and our teams. I have no doubt that over the next three years we will touch more viewers, in more ways, through the reach of NBC Sports Group’s platforms.” Schiller concluded.

Doctor H may have no doubts, but we sure do.  Still, he has a point in welcoming NBC back to the fold.  You probably remember that the AC actually paid NBC a massive fee just to get the US network to broadcast the last Cup (not to mention the tens of millions that AC spent to actually produce the broadcast), and a little bit of morning research tells us that this time is indeed quite different.  Schiller told Sportcal that he “received other offers, but we really appreciated NBC’s support,” which he wouldn’t quantify other than to call it “financially a very pleasing deal.”  Knowing how little American networks care about yachting, we translate that as follows: “Last time, we spent 8 figures to get NBC to run the shows we provided to them at our cost.  This time, other network’s asked us for money, but not NBC, who we are not paying at all.  In other words, I’m financially very pleased!”

We’re pleased too, and other than the fact that another NBC deal probably means we’ll still have to listen to Gary Jobson drone on for another two years like a deranged granddad about his 1776 AC victory, this is about as good a TV deal as sailing in America could get right now.  It means a few more million people will be exposed to the Bermuda Cup (and NZ qualifiers) than would be otherwise, and there remains an almost infinitesimally but real chance that NBC will actually put in the kind of effort and marketing to make AC35 a real TV success in the US.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, the smart money says the Bermuda AC will draw even smaller US television numbers than San Francisco did, and NBC’s deal – specifically the presumably exclusive ‘NBC Sports Live Extra” online portion of it – may mean that overall online distribution and viewership suffer.

Either way, we won’t mind, because we’ve found the key to satisfaction in the America’s Cup world: Low expectations.  It’s liberating!

 

February 10th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.03.27 PMAt this point, former Oracle Team USA grinder and 5-time AC sailor Matty Mitchell’s allegations against the AC34 jury and fellow competitor Simeon Tienpont are all he said/she said at the moment, but take a few minutes and listen to what the Kiwi has to offer in this excellent interview with NZ Channel 3.  He’s believable as hell, and his story is frightening.  Railroaded by ISAF, burned at the altar by his team, and stabbed in the back by a lying crew mate – and now he’s fighting back.  Collusion, blackmail, all sorts of nasty shit – given the way ISAF has been conducting itself lately, anyone surprised out there?  And then there’s the part Oracle played…but that’s another story.

It’s great to see an honest discussion rather than the media-trained corporate speak we’ve gotten used to from Cuppers; we’re hoping to speak to Matty soon, but we’re not sure we need to after this comprehensive chat! Want to know more or share your view?  Hit the thread in America’s Cup Anarchy.

 

February 6th, 2015 by admin

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Stern-steerers, litigation (not ours, thankfully!), luscious Hannah, the slickest metal in the world, the boys in Orange coming on, and the boys in Bermuda flying high.  Another edition of Video Anarchy is all yours.

Magic Carpet Ride

Yacht designers and racers have been searching for some breakthrough in hull coating technology for as long as boats have raced; so much so that the  fluid-emitting system on the BMW/Oracle 90 is illegal in every other type of racing.  But what if the perfect hydrophobic hull was a single sheet of metal?  And what if you could etch metal foils so the water literally ran away from them?  We don’t know what the long term outlook would be, but we sure are interested, and we know the AC guys are, too.  Check this incredible video above, and you will be too.

All Hannah, All The Time

We were going to post an interesting kiteboarding movie here by the awesome Broken Head Film guys, but then we noticed one of their stars (and an avowed SA reader) Hannah Whiteley – had a new video up herself. And since we’re head-over-heels in love with her, we’ll feature that one.  Follow Hannah here.

Big Ben’s Bermuda Base

Is this just an easy winter vacation for a team whose backers probably all have winter mansions in Bermuda, or are Ben & Friends the most serious Cup team of all right now?   Time is the one thing that matters most for the AC, and here’s a slickly produced video showing Ben and the team getting feet wet in Bermuda with Nacra F20C foilers.  UK 1, everyone else: 0.

Orange Is The New Bronze

If you’re like us, you’re proud of Charlie and Mark and the youngest VOR team for their hard-fought podium finish in Sanya.  But if you’re like us, you didn’t pay much attention to this long, light-air leg, and you don’t understand how they got there.  Watch this video and catch up.

 Section 68

Former OTUSA sailor Mattie Mitchell is taking Larry and Russell to court for being thrown headfirst under the bus during the 2013 AC’s Kingpostgate (and hung out to dry for $68K),  and now that it’s in court, all the OTUSA/ACEA/ISAF secret meetings, back room deals, and ‘confidential’ submissions are finally going to see the light of day. Mattie sat down for a 10-minute interview with NZ’s  Good Chaps the other day, and it’s definitely a good listen for anyone who likes a good AC dustup.

We’re excited for the discovery process to begin, and we think the world will get to see just what kind of folks were running the show over in San Fran and at ISAF headquarters for the past few years.  Stay tuned for more developments coming soon, and let’s all hope Mattie doesn’t settle!

Lords Of The Deuce

54 feet. 104 MPH. 6 crazy dudes.
Total Anarchy.

January 29th, 2015 by admin

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You saw it all if you watched some of our 4-hour live feed yesterday from the Moth Worlds, but you didn’t see it like this.  Hear from the runaway leader and watch 7 high-intensity minutes of the single most epic dinghy racing we’ve ever seen – from the visual stylings of Petey Crawford…

 

January 11th, 2015 by admin

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We’re not quite sure how we missed this one; a really cool rendering of a monohull AC foiler concept that must have been done by a five year old with a really nice computer.  Or not.  From the Trickle Down thread.

December 30th, 2014 by admin

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Our old friend RadioSport NZ talker D’arcy Waldegrave caught up with Mr. Clean after yesterday’s Bermuda AC announcement for his drive time show ‘The Sauce”. As usual, they talked some shit together, and as usual, it’s worth a laugh or two.

 

December 3rd, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.48.41 AMThere’s a huge weight off our shoulders this week, because we’ve finally reached inner peace about the America’s Cup.  Our realization has urged us to share the following note.  Title inspiration from the Specials.

Dear Larry and Ernesto:

We wanted you to know that we are genuinely sorry about the way we’ve treated both of you.  At the times we criticized both of you for your illogical, backwards, seemingly insane decisions about America’s Cup issues, we failed to understand just how poisonous the Cup is.  Worse yet, we failed to realize that we’d been infected, too.

We’ve compared the past two holders of the Cup as infected by ownership of the Cup just as Lord of the Ring’s Gollum was infected by ‘The Precious,’ and little did we know that its effect extends far beyond physical contact.  That same force – let’s call it Dyscuptopia -  that caused otherwise wildly successful entrepreneur/sailors to so perfectly fail in their grandiose goals actually led us to believe that the America’s Cup had some sort of duty to the wider sport in the USA.  When we chased the first wing-sailed Cup boat in history all over San Diego, when we broadcast live talk shows from the BMR Oracle compound in Valencia, and when we snuck onstage to hold the Cup after it was wrestled away from Bertarelli’s willd plans, we became invested.  And more importantly, infected.

Sure, Larry, your and Russell’s very vocal plans to revolutionize the public face of sailing while bringing in millions in revenue helped lead us down this primrose path, where we walked along with sponsorship directors, the governments of several municipalities and various nongovernmental organizations.  But we’re Sailing Anarchy – the site that prides itself on brutal honesty, run by a couple of the most jaded, cynical bastards anyhere.  We should have known better.

Instead, we got mad, and until the other day, we stayed that way.  Mad when the USA got rapidly washed out of the US Team.  Mad when poor recruiting snowballed into a failed media push.  Mad at the secrecy and opacity rife in the event, magnified by the continuing silence more than a year since Bart’s death.  And mostly, mad at the incredible wealth spent on the San Francisco Cup while almost nothing went to the marketing, sustainability or infrastructure of the sport that makes it all possible; a wasted opportunity in a nation that’s lost three quarters of its sailing population over the past 30 years.

When Bernie Wilson broke the Bermuda venue story last week, we started to write a typically scathing editorial and planned a trip to the December 2nd Press Conference.  We’d put Russell’s feet to the fire in front of hundreds of journalists, we would!  And then we thought about it for a second, and wondered why we gave even the tiniest shit.  And that’s when we knew it wasn’t a logical reaction, rather, it was the dreaded Dyscuptopia, which we’ll define as ‘the unshakeable conviction that the afflicted can and must use the America’s Cup for some incredibly grand purpose.’

When the fog cleared, we realized that Larry doesn’t owe anyone a goddamned thing.  It’s his Cup, it’s his regatta, and if his top employee wants to make a sustainable America’s Cup in Bermuda, more power to him.  And to be perfectly frank, it shouldn’t be that fucking hard, as long as everyone cuts their expectations by about 90%.  The Extreme Sailing Series and World Match Race Tour have proved that a combination of venue fees and hospitality/b-to-b sponsorship can fund solid racing series.  All you have to do is make the boats cheap enough and have sponsorship hunters that are slick enough, and repeat as needed.

So with a final sigh, we shrug off our Dyscuptopia, and close the chapter on our criticism and legal analysis of the commercialization, litigation, and Russel-ization of the Oracle America’s Cups.  We will certainly not hide from reporting on the inevitable screwups, boondoggles, or the public’s continued loss of interest, but our anger is gone, and we’ve accepted that the America’s Cup will never be what it could be.

And we’ll be on Bermuda’s beautiful Great Sound to watch some catamaran racing – all thanks to Larry and Russell.  And we’ll be watching tomorrow’s press conference from the warmth of South Beach.

 

December 1st, 2014 by admin

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We’re not sure how long the webcam will hold up, but for the moment we have the rare luxury of watching a hurricane as it rolls into Bermuda.  Our thoughts are with all the Anarchists on island – stay safe.  Click the pic to see the live camera, and now for the PSA from SA Weather Bureau Chief (and tech shirt guru) Mark Michaelson.

Now would be the time to move you and your family to a three story or elevated steel reinforced concrete structure. This one is for real.

My hunch is that the island could be without power for up to a month so make sure you have plenty of cash on hand. Let me know if you have any questions.Winds will be Tropical Storm force this morning becoming Storm and then quickly becoming hurricane force this afternoon. Seas will rapidly build to 35-40 feet. Heavy surge will accompany high tide around 5PM. Structurally this is on the large side for a Category 3 storm. It is moving NNE @15 so there is not a lot of time left to get to a safe shelter before movement will not be possible without risk of severe injury or death from flying debris. I expect the next advisory will maintain the intensity (Roughly) but change the trajectory to more NE. Bermuda lies in the NE quadrant of the storm which is the worst place to be. Good luck to all on the island. You are always welcomed to call or text me to get eyes on the storm from the outside for as long as you have the ability to communicate.

 

October 17th, 2014 by admin

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GONZALO9Cat 4 Hurricane Gonzalo visited many of our favorite sailing destinations yesterday, and Antigua, Anguilla, St. Martin and St. Barths are all reeling.  Despite accurate forecasts days ago, dozens of yachts were tossed onto land in SXM and sunk in its lagoon.  It wasn’t just boats damaged, either – the 120 knot winds tore roofs off homes and sent shanties toppling, one person lost his life in the lagoon and at least two people are missing…thus far…and there’s still no power and therefore not a ton of information.  There are some decent damage reports, pics, and video on local Yana Gibbs’ Facebook Page and keep an eye on the thread for more.  And if you have some info, please post it - because Gonzalo ain’t finished by a long shot.

The NHC’s warning map makes the tiny island nation of Bermuda look like a slow pitch down the middle for Gonzalo’s 140 knot bat, and he’s taking aim tomorrow with no real weakening in the forecast.  If you’re visiting or living in Bermuda, don’t take the laissez faire attitude many did in the French caribbean; get your shit tucked away, be sure you have potable water and food, and get to high ground long in advance.

And if you’re a fan of the America’s Cup, now’s the time to figure out what to do when a hurricane comes straight at your fleet of AC62s, cruise ship hotels, and super yachts.  Our suggestion: Ask Russell.

 

October 16th, 2014 by admin

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