Discussing the Future of Sailing Coverage

Published on May 6th, 2017

As part of the continuing efforts to improve Olympic broadcast coverage, Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and World Sailing, the world governing body for the sport of Sailing, recently met at OBS headquarters in Madrid on April 27 to reflect on how Sailing was successfully captured during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

With plans for Tokyo 2020 currently being developed, this meeting offered a great occasion to discuss potential changes in the sport’s presentation and competition format.

“I would like to extend my thanks to World Sailing for their recent visit which allowed us the opportunity to discuss our past experience from broadcasting Sailing in Rio and, more importantly, review how we can improve the presentation of the sport in the future,” OBS Chief Executive Officer Yiannis Exarchos said.

During their visit, World Sailing, represented by President Kim Anderson, Chief Executive Officer Andy Hunt and Director of Events Alastair Fox, met with the OBS Production team – Chief Content Officer Mark Wallace, Coordinating Producer in charge of Sailing Henry Mok and Senior Coordinating Producer Kostas Kapatais – as well as with representatives from the Olympic Channel.

World Sailing expressed a high level of satisfaction with the broadcast coverage of the Sailing events at Rio 2016, underlining that OBS footage once again received global acclaim with excellent audience figures around the world.

Featuring a total of 10 events over 11 days, the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing competition was dramatic, and showcased several incredible athletic performances, all set against a stunning natural backdrop, with sailors racing in the shadow of the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain.

“Guanabara Bay lived up to its billing as an epic venue, providing an incredible setting,” CCO Mark Wallace said.

He continued, “our on-board cameras helped us capture the thrill of racing, bringing the viewers closer than ever before to the action and showcasing Olympic Sailing at its best.

“Additionally, our virtual graphics made the competitions even more compelling, by giving the viewer an understanding of the position of the boats at any given time. This also allowed first-time fans to experience the race with added clarity and better appreciate the ins and outs of Sailing.”

The Olympic Channel was also part of the discussions, emphasizing the close partnership it has already established with World Sailing, which include live event streaming, news coverage, original programming and access to Olympic footage via its video player, as well as the future collaborations in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020 in order to help grow the sport and its various disciplines among the younger generation.

Situated approximately 50km southwest of the Japanese capital, Enoshima Yacht Harbour, which staged the Sailing events during the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, will again have the honour in 2020. Sagami Bay will offer another dramatic setting for the races, as sailors will compete in the shadow of Mt. Fuji, towering in the distance.

In collaboration with World Sailing, OBS is currently developing its production plan, aiming at ensuring the best conditions for another successful coverage of Sailing at the Olympic Games.

Editor’s note: This report came from Olympic Broadcasting Services, which would explain why it omitted the challenges that were faced during the Rio Olympics. While the broadcast was quite good, there was a lack of flexibility in the courses that were highlighted each day. When racing was postponed on the selected broadcast course, the broadcast went dark instead of moving to another course. Also, the ocean course was never part of the live broadcast due to the higher costs involved. This was a disappointment as there were several windy days in which the footage from the course would have been epic. But progress is progress, and the Rio Olympics provided progress. Onward to Tokyo 2020.

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