The America's Cup Gets All Spiffed Up
The first America's Cup race was held in 1851, and 161 years later, several of tech-savvy changes being rolled out in advance of the 34th competition, in 2013, promise to attract a new generation of viewers--and to surprise loyal veterans.
Team Oracle, Larry Ellison's boat, won the last cup in Valencia, Spain, in 2010 returning it to the U.S. after 18 years abroad. Now, for the first time in its history, the competition will be held in San Francisco--a city justly famous for its waterfront--and raced on 72-foot wing-sailed catamarans.
Among the tech highlights of the 34th America's Cup is livestream footage. Agile, waterproof cameras and 14 microphones onboard each boat will stream video--accompanied by eagle-eye views and expert commentary--to both YouTube and the America's Cup website. Stan Honey, Director of Technology for the America's Cup, says of the competition, "We're transforming the way people see the sport, and with our YouTube partnership, we can put the viewer in the driver's seat."
Another major innovation of the 2013 Cup is the introduction of LiveLine, a revolutionary graphic system developed by Honey and his Emmy-Award winning team. (You probably know LiveLine as the moving, yellow first-down line featured in football telecasts.) Using footage captured from a helicopter, the system will project graphics onto the water's surface to allow viewers to see ahead of and behind lines and other markings to visualize who's in the lead--sometimes by as little as mere centimeters.
Check out the new technology in action by tuning in to the upcoming AC World Series, which helps determine final team rankings, broadcast live by NBC from Newport, R.I. on July 1st.