The second AC event to be televised on NBC failed to reach the numbers of last month’s Newport broadcast, falling short by around 25% despite wider availability and a significantly bigger local audience. The numbers, which show 860,000 people tuned in, are also somewhat questionable at the moment as they are supplied by NBC, and according to the Youtube broadcast, the most viewers ever recorded watching concurrently online was less than 6,000 worldwide. Even if many more are considered “average number of viewers” if NBC or Nielsen-type measurements are applied to Youtube, that means that only a tiny fraction of Americans watched it online – not what logic would suggest for the highly-web connected sailors that tend to watch sailing.
In any event, at least there are some numbers out there, and we definitely dig the slick new official AC app, which lets viewers get Virtual Eye and audio streams on their iPhones or tablets and soon on Android. It’s an essential tool for those who can’t get the somewhat buggy Youtube/mobile live video working consistently or with any resolution, and a good way to reach a bigger audience.
We’ve already shared our thoughts on some of the broadcast’s weaknesses, and we hear that wholesale changes are coming to the broadcast team before October. There was also a definite lack of any kind of planned national promotion, but there’s a bigger problem: NBC. Their official website teaches you plenty about The Biggest Loser when you search for “America’s Cup”, but damned if the AC wasn’t even listed in their offerings anywhere on the site. And maybe we’re idiots, but we spent a half hour looking for any mention at all about the AC on NBCSports.com, and all we could find was a cut and pasted AP wire about the event. Plenty of bow hunting and bass fishing, but not the smallest bit of NBC news on the entire subject, and NBCSports has a sizeable readership. Perhaps because the broadcast is not costing them anything, they just don’t give a crap, but without the huge network’s help, the domestic numbers are probably not going to get much better. For that matter, where is MSNBC? And why can lumberjack competitions and midget car racing get Sportcenter’s attention but the AC can’t?