One of the regular excuses we hear about Sailing not being adopted by a larger fan-base is that it is not compelling television. We generally disagree and it seems, so do the IOC.
The IOC’s Olympic Golden Rings ceremony recognises the contribution made by the world of television to the success of the Olympic Games. Sailing won the gold award for The Best Sports Coverage by the Host Broadcasting Organisation, the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting (BOB).
Gary Milkis, Producer of BOB’s sailing coverage, said,
‘This award goes to an exceptional crew made up of professionals from around the world. We had excellent cooperation from ISAF who allowed us great access and an always open line of communication. Also, a first class venue and some great weather that made for exceptional images.’
A number of innovations, both to the format of the competition and from a technical perspective, meant TV audiences had better view of the sport than ever before.
ISAF President Göran Petersson said,
‘The new Medal Race format proved a key element in the success of sailing’s TV coverage at the Beijing Olympic Games. This latest award is further evidence that ISAF’s decision three years has helped take the sport forwards.’
At Beijing 2008, sailing was broadcast in high definition for the first time, with live broadcasts of all 11 of the decisive Medal Races beamed around the world. Along with Producer, Milkis, Christopher Lincoln was Director of BOB’s Sailing Coverage and Henry Mok was Coordinating Producer.
Jerome Pels, Secretary General of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), said,
‘This is fantastic news for the sport and great reward for all the efforts of the BOB team in Qingdao. I’d also like to thank the Sailing Sub-Committee of BOCOG, who worked in cooperation with ISAF to realize the potential we know sailing has as a televised sport. And of course, great thanks to the IOC, who have continued to support ISAF and sailing by investing in the personnel and the technology to bring the sport to life.’
Pels said the Olympic Golden Rings was the latest in a series of positive signs for the sport’s TV performance at Beijing 2008. ‘We are delighted that sailing is recognized for these awards. Just as important though is the evidence we are beginning to see of the positive growth in TV audiences.
The TNSSport report of Olympic TV performance in the UK and China commissioned by ASOIF, placed sailing as third sport in terms of total Olympic TV audience in the UK and fourth in terms of top sports programme.
The report also indicates a TV audience in China of over 10 million people for the Windsurfer Medal Races – a fantastic improvement on figures we’ve seen from past Games.’