Sailing returns to network TV Sunday for the first time in 20 years.
NBC will air the America’s Cup World Series race live from Newport, R.I., starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT.
“Just one year ago ESPN said they couldn’t sell sailing television,” said Iain Murray, America’s Cup regatta director and CEO of Race Management. “Now sailing television is going to a much broader audience than ever before.”
The 34th America’s Cup, which will be held in San Francisco Bay in 2013, will make for some “cool television” with 72-foot wing-sail catamarans, Murray said.
Director of digital technology Stan Honey — co-founder of Sportvision Inc. and the man who digitally enhanced the hockey puck to make it blue and added the yellow first-down line into football broadcasts — is combining video footage taken from helicopters and juxtaposing it onto the race to make it more accessible to non-sailors.
Me-TV, the digital tier station of NBC 10 in the Newport area, will show live racing Thursday through Saturday before NBC takes over on Sunday.
Comcast Sports in California also will have live racing each day, as well as a full replay at 9 p.m. PDT.
Coverage is also available live and on-demand worldwide on YouTube.com/AmericasCup, subject to territorial broadcast agreements.
Eight crews from six countries are competing in the 2011-12 AC World Series, including: Artemis Racing (Sweden), skipper Terry Hutchinson; Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand), skipper Dean Barker; Energy Team (France), helmsman Loïck Peyron; Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy), with two boats, helmsmen Chris Draper and Paul Campbell-James; Oracle Team USA (USA) with two boats, skippers James Spithill and Russell Coutts; and Team Korea (Korea) with skipper Nathan Outteridge.
In related news, Team New Zealand's AC45 America's Cup yacht collided Wednesday with an official boat in practice racing at the World Series Newport Regatta.
Skipper Dean Barker said he had to luff to avoid a couple of spectator boats and lifted a hull to avoid the official boat.
"It probably looked more spectacular than it was. No one was hurt and neither boat suffered serious damage," Barker said.