America’s Cup

In 1987, New Zealand entered its first America’s Cup competition with KZ7.  It was the moment that started it all as Chris Dickson and crew began the legacy that is what it is today.

In support of the challenge for the Auld Mug, a number of Kiwi personalities including Dave Dobbyn, Billy T James, Barry Crump and Tim Finn recorded a song that ended up spending 9 weeks at the top of the charts.

The lyrics aren’t entirely accurate any more as the team includes a number of members who aren’t New Zealanders but in this 34th America’s Cup, it does appear as though Team New Zealand is sailing away with it.

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americas-cup-logo-300If the number of press releases TVNZ have sent out about the America’s Cup ratings are anything to go by, it seems as though they don’t really care that their coverage is doing so well.

On Sunday, the average audience for the first two races of the America’s Cup was 522,720 viewers.  This peaked at 669,200 viewers at the end of the second race.

Compare this to the All Blacks vs Argentina the night before.  An average audience of 508,500 viewers tuned in with the peak only reaching 535,100.  When the All Blacks played Australia in Wellington, the average audience was 585,000 viewers and the peak was 634,500 at the end of the game.  This was, though, prime time. Continue reading »

americas-cup-logo-300In New Zealand there is very little choice when it comes to watching sport on television.  You can either pay a small fortune to Sky for their sports coverage or you can watch a select few events delayed, usually on Sky’s free to air channel Prime, or you can wait for a news bulletin for some highlights.

We’re rather deprived of sport on free to air television in this country due to the strangle hold monopoly that Sky Television has on sports rights.  Contrast this in Australia where there are regularly live games on free to air television from a number of sporting codes.  Even in the US, big sporting events like the Superbowl are broadcast on free to air channels.

While the viewing figures for things like grass roots rugby matches have dropped, and subsequently ticket sales, since Sky Television took over the broadcasting rights, when there is a sporting event that Kiwi’s care deeply about and can actually watch live on free to air television, then the ratings go through the roof.

Take yesterday’s first America’s Cup race between Team New Zealand and Oracle.  The ratings showed that it was the 4th most watched thing on TV yesterday.  More than half a million kiwis were glued to their televisions from 8am on a Sunday morning.  Those numbers are not insignificant. Continue reading »

2013-americas-cup-etnzIf you’re anything like me, the America’s Cup is kind of a big deal.  While it is generally regarded as an event for the super rich to throw money around, little old New Zealand has a proud history of doing incredibly well and really taking it to some of the richest men in the world.  As a country, we have produced some brilliant sailors and our boat designers are some of the best in the world.

I remember as a child watching KZ7 and following the cup and the drama it bought.  I remember watching us beat Dennis Conner in San Diego in 1995 and hearing those immortal words of Pete Montgomery, “The America’s Cup is now New Zealand’s Cup” and then again in 2000, “The America’s Cup is still New Zealand’s Cup”.

While the class of boat has changed, so too has the commentary team on TVNZ and I’m really struggling to enjoy it as I once did.

While Martin Tasker and Peter Lester do an ok job of covering the America’s Cup for TVNZ, it’s just not the same without Pete Montgomery.   Continue reading »

Looking back over the last week or so, I’ve spent more time in front of a computer screen than a TV screen for my TV needs.  It started with keeping track of developments at Parliament with the Privileges Hearing, and of course the now infamous two dead snapper held up by David Shearer.

via TV3 News

via TV3 News

On Saturday I found myself with net access but in a place without Sky TV.  A little nimble Google-Fu had me watching the All Blacks a mere 1 minute 40 seconds delayed over the live broadcast.

Next, I tuned into the Louis Vuitton Cup final races just before taking the kids to school – then rushing back to see Team New Zealand take the cup.

In an increasingly busy life with lots of commitments but improving connectivity, I seem to squeeze my TV watching in when I can, often multi-tasking (ahem, working…).  The days of sitting in front of the TV are coming to an end for me.

I want it when I want it, I want what I want, and I want traditional media channels to make it available to me.  Now.

Continue reading »

America'sCupPeterWilliamsTV One will be screening the first race of the America’s Cup competition where Team New Zealand actually has an opponent.

Emirates Team New Zealand is set to line up against Luna Rossa this Sunday morning NZT in a round robin race – the first time the Kiwis have faced an opposing team on the water since the competition got underway on 8 July NZT.

Presented by Peter Williams (pictured) from TVNZ’s Auckland studios, the sports special will cross live to San Francisco Bay for commentary by ONE NEWS Yachting Correspondent Martin Tasker and yachting personality Peter Lester. Continue reading »

martin-tasker-americas-cup-2013TVNZ’s America’s Cup coverage starts on TV ONE this Monday July 8.
We kick off with the first race in the Round Robin series of the 2013 America’s Cup.

Fans can watch online – with all of the races streamed in full at – the fantastic new one-stop-shop for all the latest news and video on Team New Zealand and the America’s Cup.

During the ‘Breakfast’ show, the team will also cross to our ONE NEWS Yachting Correspondent, Martin Tasker, who is live on the water in San Francisco. Continue reading »

Starting with the America’s Cup World Series, event organisers will realise months of preparation as America’s Cup Television (ACTV) delivers its first broadcast. And to fulfil that vision in New Zealand, TVNZ will broadcast America’s Cup World Series live on TV ONE, beginning with the final fleet race in Cascais, Portugal on August 14.
In addition, TVNZ will carry America’s Cup World Series highlights as well as show America’s Cup Uncovered, the official weekly magazine programme on its website,
Transforming the way that audiences connect with the sport is the shared focus of the team behind the new America’s Cup. To not only connect new audiences to the sport but also change the way people watch sailing, event organisers have made a significant investment in the production of next-generation broadcast images. 
TVNZ’s General Manager of Sport Murray Needham, “TVNZ has had a significant involvement in past America’s Cup series and we are excited to be able to extend that in partnership with the America’s Cup Events Authority for the 34th America’s Cup, starting with the inaugural America’s Cup World Series event in Portugal. The new developments proposed for this edition of the America’s Cup, both in terms of sailing and broadcast coverage, are significant and we are looking forward to working with ACTV as competition gets underway on the water in the AC45 catamarans.”
Covering this action is the 100-strong outside broadcast crew that is the nerve centre of America’s Cup Television (ACTV).  The team will use three helicopter cameras, four cameras on water, and land-based cameras to visualize the racing for the viewers completely. In addition, each boat will sport four onboard cameras, designed to be as ergonomic and lightweight as possible to minimise their impact on the racing yachts, while generating the high quality HD pictures needed for global television and online coverage. These onboard cameras will be able to pan, tilt, zoom and self clean so not a moment of onboard action is missed, while 14 onboard microphones will capture every sound.
America’s Cup Event Authority Chairman Richard Worth, “We’re more than delighted to partner with TVNZ to continue its long, proud history with the Cup and bring the next generation of America’s Cup sailing to New Zealand viewers.  The comprehensive coverage they will provide, on free-to-air television in a key sailing market, is a valuable addition to our commercial landscape.  TVNZ will help us to deliver a product that is compelling, exciting and world-class, telling the America’s Cup story in a way that is unique in sports today, and bringing the audience right onto the boats so they are embedded into the action.”
There will be three separate graphics systems including the revolutionary LiveLine graphics developed by ACEA Director of Technology Stan Honey and his team that will insert tactical lines, distances and speeds on the actual HD pictures, enabling all audiences to understand the action unfolding before them. In addition there will be a full 3D Virtual graphics system, Virtual Eye, to provide an even more comprehensive view of the racing.
In addition to the live and highlights production, ACTV has also created a new weekly magazine programme designed to connect viewers with the people, places and stories that are the backbone of the America’s Cup. Featuring behind-the-scenes sneak-peeks, athlete profiles and up-close action on and off the water, the global first America’s Cup Uncovered will take an in-depth look at the 34th edition over the next two years, offering an exclusive window into one of the most prestigious events in sport. Produced by Sunset + Vine, more than 90 episodes of America’s Cup Uncovered will be available through global broadcasters and on TVNZ will also carry America’s Cup Uncovered.  A new 30-minute episode is also available on

It was third time lucky for race officials at the 33rd America’s Cup in Valencia today after the weather finally decided to be kind.

After a delayed start, Alinghi was penalised during the prestart giving Oracle an unexpected advantage but skipper James Spithill stalled BMW Oracle across the line and by the time they got their speed up and got across the line, Alinghi were 660m ahead.

The big advantage was quickly eaten away as Oracle’s trimaran had an obvious speed advantage over the America’s Cup defender Alinghi’s catamaran.  By the top mark, Oracle were more than a kilometre ahead.

The embarrassing finish for Ernesto Bertarelli, who was helming Alinghi, was made worse when the penalty turn wasn’t completed properly and the Swiss boat had to return to cross the finish line.  The final time was 15 minutes and 28 seconds behind BMW Oracle.

The next race is on Sunday.

Anyone know if there will be any television coverage of the America’s Cup  next week?