USA broadcast coverage for Volvo Ocean Race
Published on September 25th, 2014
(September 25, 2014) – NBC Sports Network, which was critically acclaimed for its 2013 coverage of the 34th America’s Cup, has signed on to provide full broadcast coverage in the U.S. of the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s premier offshore sailing race. Outside Television will also air complete TV programming – in addition to full digital coverage – of the nine-month long race from October 2014-June 2015.
The race kicks off October 11, 2014 in Alicante, Spain and runs for 39 weeks until the race finish in Gothenburg, Sweden next June. During the nearly 40,000 nautical mile journey around the world, the boats will pass through Newport, RI from May 5-17, the only North American stopover of the race.
Television coverage will feature 39 half-hour sports dramas and will air primarily on late afternoon weekend slots each week on NBCSN beginning in late October, and on Outside Television with new episodes every Monday at 10:30PM EST with the program re-airing throughout the week.
NBCSN’s coverage will begin with an exciting 1.5-hour block of episodes to kick-off the race start at 1pm ET on Sunday, October 26.
“NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Louis Vuitton Series and the 34th Americas Cup was a tremendous success and demonstrated the country’s strong appetite for sailing on television,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We look forward to showcasing the Volvo Ocean Race, and some of the best sailors in the world, as they cross the globe in one of the most prestigious and physically demanding races in the sport.”
Outside Television will also show a full slate of live streaming and online coverage of the race at OutsideTelevision.com that includes digital streaming of the leg starts, in-port races, news features and live look-ins with the boats.
“We feel the Volvo Ocean Race is the perfect type of event programming for Outside Television to broadcast,” said Rob Faris, SVP Programming & Production for Outside Television. “The race is all about high-adventure & the team’s experiences around the world and the programs will focus on the human stories that come with a nine month long journey. It is the premier offshore ocean race and we are thrilled to have them as partners for both our TV and Digital platforms.”
NBC partner Universal Sports will also feature Volvo Ocean Race programming and re-airs.
London-based production company Sunset+Vine, which previously produced race coverage in 2005-06 and 2008-09, will produce the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.
“We are calling this race the human edition,” said Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race CEO. “We want to highlight the emotional drama and adventures of sailing around the world at these speeds. What are the sailors thinking? What are they feeling? How are they interacting in the tight quarters of their 65-foot boats while living life at the extreme over nine months.”
Each team will feature a dedicated Onboard Reporter (OBR) – a trained muulti-media specialist – who will shoot, interview and send footage back to the race headquarters in Alicante, Spain daily via satellite. Footage will be weaved and edited together with sophisticated race graphics, weather data and tracking information to craft a dramatic 30-minute show every week.
“The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the greatest challenges in sport,” said Andrew Piller, Commercial Director for Sunset+Vine, host broadcaster and distribution partner. “From the world’s most dangerous seas to some of the remotest places on Earth, the seven cameras rigged on each boat, with their on-board reporters, will take viewers to the very heart of the action sharing the journey with race participants who will become our heroes.”
Seven boats will be at the start line in October, including joint U.S.-Turkish entry Team Alvimedica from Newport, RI, featuring 29-year-old American skipper Charlie Enright (Bristol, RI).
For the first time ever in the race, all teams will use a standard one-design Volvo Ocean 65 boat purpose-built for the race, allowing the boats to be designed around the needs of television and video.
“Our boats for this race have been built from the ground up to double as floating production houses with cameras, microphones, interview locations and editing facilities onboard,” said Frostad. “It’s a true reality series like you’ve never seen. Unlike other so-called reality shows, absolutely nothing is scripted in the race.”
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 was viewed by over 1.5 billion people worldwide, featured nearly 9,000 broadcasts globally including news pieces, and was won by French-entry Groupama.
Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race starts October 4 and will take the 7-boat fleet to 11 cities in 11 countries – Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, Brazil, United States, Portugal, France, The Netherlands, and Sweden – and will require the teams to cover 38,739 nautical miles over nearly nine months. It will be the first edition using the new one design Volvo Ocean 65 racing boats. Race website: http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/home.html