To stream live or not to stream live – that is the question that sailing rights holders are asking themselves in 2011. The Volvo Ocean Race has streamed in-port races, the World Match Racing Tour is streaming up to 2 hours of live racing per day, the America’s Cup is promising a mind-altering sports spectacular live on the internet, and the Audi Med Cup has also proved popular with internet audiences.
Now the Extreme Sailing Series is adding streaming offers to fans. After the Istanbul round was broadcast live on Turkish and Balkan television, the concept of streaming was tested in Boston where ‘On the Water Anarchy’ provided coverage, and now the Cowes round of the event for Extreme 40s will also be able to be watched live.
But what is the value of the live product versus a highlights package? The Extreme Sailing Series produces a 6 part series that is broadcast widely on channels such as CNBC, Eurosport, Channel 4 (terrestrial UK), Bloomberg, TRT, Starhub (Asia) and Sport+ (France), but with a very similar product going head-to-head with the series on the same dates, a live streaming offer helps keep the Extreme 40s in mind with the internet audience.
The Extreme Sailing Series would be the first to admit that they don’t have the TV budget that the America’s Cup has. The costs of the television production for the America’s Cup World Series are perhaps higher than any other sailing event in history and some believe the TV costs of a single event like Cascais are larger than a Major Golf tournament.
Nevertheless, the Extreme Sailing Series does have the TV production facilities on site to produce the highlight shows, so the marginal cost of streaming is relatively low. The two live products in place for Act 5, WEBcam and LiveTV, are part of a continuous development strategy by the Organisers to discover the most cost-effective way to bring the action to the competing teams’ worldwide fanbase.
Lou Newlands, Media & Communications Director, said:
“We will have two versions of live online coverage during Act 5 – WEBcam and LiveTV – our event is a purely commercially funded one, so we have to choose carefully how to use our constrained budgets and have decided for this Act to take this two-level approach.
“In essence, where we have live TV broadcast in place in territory, we take their feed and broadcast it live over the internet, with multiple cameras, graphics, video inserts and a full commentary team. In territories where we don’t have a broadcast partner or the rights aren’t available, we’ll revert to the simpler form of live video streaming (‘WEBcam’) which is a single camera production, tracking the racing, combined with our onsite expert commentary team.”
The commentary team is the x-factor. There has been no public statement by the America’s Cup as to who will ‘anchor’ the ‘revolutionary’ sports TV from Cascais, but the Extreme Sailing Series has Seb Destremeau, Andy Green and Hannah White lined up for their Cowes event.
In Cowes, from Sunday – Tuesday (7, 8 & 9 August), a multi-camera LiveTV production will be in place, with this coverage streaming live on the official website and other web portals and made available to TV broadcasters. In co-operation with Sail TV, the live output will also broadcast sailing websites that carry the Sail TV player. In addition via the Sail TV set top box the coverage can be seen on TV screens in many establishments throughout Cowes as well as bars and yacht clubs throughout the world.
The Extreme WEBcam will run on the Saturday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (6, 10, 11, 12 August) with live pictures and an audio feed taken directly from the race village commentary.
Watch the Extreme Sailing Series in Cowes Live on the Internet
LiveTV : Sunday to Tuesday (7, 8, 9 August)
Programme starts at 1415 British Summer Time (BST, 1 hour ahead of GMT) with 49er and windsurfing action ahead of the Extreme 40 racing starting at 1500 BST
WEBcam : Saturday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (6, 10, 11 & 12 August)
WEBcam starts at 1415 BST on Saturday with Extreme 40 racing from 1500.
*WEBcam starts from 1500 BST, with Extreme 40 racing coming back in to the ‘Stadium’ once Cowes Week racing has cleared the area, and not before 1500 BST at the earliest.