Thanks to the nice people at Sailing Spoken Here, I had the privilege of interviewing the great Gary Jobson. Gary is reporting for Sailing Spoken Here, covering regattas, sailing issues and everything in between over the next two months.
There were a million things I could have asked Gary but what interested me most was his perspective on the state of sailing media, in particular TV. Coincidentally, this was also the week that NBC announced that it would be covering the America's Cup.
Gary has covered sailing on TV since the 1983 America's Cup, There is no one better qualified to talk on the subject and he doesn’t mince his words. In his view, sailing on TV attracts an audience when three things happen:
- Close racing with lots of lead changes
- There is a great story behind the racing
- Compelling characters are involved
Close racing is a tough one. Match racing can be incredibly exciting (Remember the last race of AC32 in Valencia) but it can also be like watching paint dry to anyone but real fans of the sport.
We talked about the way the AC will be covered. A few months ago I saw an impressive demonstration by Stan Honey on the new techniques being used for the AC. This will overlay a wide array of race-related information over the sailing images to explain what’s going on. (Think what the yellow line has done for watching football and multiply that by 10 and you’ll get a sense of what’s in store). It will make the AC match races much easier to understand and much more engaging for novice and veteran watchers of the sport.