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Technology speeds coverage of the America’s Cup

No event illustrates the sheer global scope and cutting edge of AV technology more than the America’s Cup.

Stephen Nuttall, head of television for the America’s Cup, used his ISE keynote to talk about the record-breaking broadcast production plans for the 37th edition, which will be hosted in October 2024 by the city of Barcelona.

“We intend this to be the most watched America’s Cup of all time,” Stephen Nuttall, the sailing race’s head of television, told ISE 2023. “The 36th race was viewed by 942 million people worldwide. We will look to beat that by a considerable margin in Barcelona 2024.”

In his keynote, Nuttall explained that they mean to achieve this with technological innovation on the AV side that matches the high tech design and engineering of the boat’s carbon fibre hulls.

“You can’t win without technological innovation,” he said. “It is never a case of doing what has been done before with the TV coverage, but innovating and creating new frontiers of broadcast technology.”

The chase boats, for example, which will be used by every team and by the TV crew on the water, use a hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity and in turn that powers the boat.

The media teams will deploy dozens of wireless cameras, sensors and technology in order to process 125 million data points every day. This is used to run the event safely, to officiate the competition accurately and to share and stream the story to fans on TV, online and on giant screens for local spectators.

“The technical challenges of covering the Cup are considerable,” he said.  “The boats themselves are 25m long, travelling at up to 100 kmph.  The AV crew need to know their position to 2 centimetres and 1/100th of a second.  Sometimes they fly more than expected

“In the high stakes world of the America’s Cup, with some campaigns costing over €100m and with a history stretching back to 1851, we can’t afford to make a mistake.”

“What is interesting about ISE is that it is as relevant to my colleagues at the America’s Cup running hospitality, the visitor experience, the IMAGs, as it is for me looking at broadcast communications equipment,” he told The Daily. “I’m not sure other trade shows have that breadth of offering.”

Nuttall’s keynote is part of a wider ISE 2023 focus on content production and distribution. Visitors can head to Hall 6 to find out more.