America's Cup Wins Sports Emmy Award

America's Cup Wins Sports Emmy Award © ACTV

America’s Cup groundbreaking use of AC LiveLine, the technology that makes competitive sailing accessible to home viewers worldwide, has been awarded an Emmy for extraordinary technical innovation. AC LiveLine technology, which is used for American football and NASCAR car racing broadcasts, is being recognized for making the sport welcoming to new fans and providing precise data for race management.

“We’re honored by this award. At the core, this team’s efforts are driven by a passion for sports and connecting people to sports they otherwise might not have the opportunity to view,” said Stephen Barclay, interim CEO, America’s Cup Event Authority. “Stan Honey (America’s Cup Director of Technology) and the rest of the team are to be commended for their role in developing this technology that is assisting America’s Cup to be broadcast internationally. This Emmy recognizes that this technology helps new fans and veteran racers to enjoy a spectacular visual experience in a way never before imagined.”

The sport of sailing is growing internationally, and America’s Cup organizers are invested in constantly improving the spectator experience. AC LiveLine superimposes graphics on the screen as a technical aid for viewers, like ahead-behind lines that enable audiences to clearly see who is leading the race and race-course boundaries. Spectators will recognize the technology from other Sportvision products, like the yellow first-down line use in the NFL and the Race/FX tracking and highlighting system used in NASCAR.

The technology was developed exclusively for America’s Cup broadcasts by the America’s Cup Event Authority, Sportvision and NBC Sports Network and does what was previously impossible: overlay geo-positioned lines and data streams at two centimeter accuracy on live race course video shot from rapidly moving helicopter and water-based platforms.

Driven by a GPS system that can track the America’s Cup catamarans to within a two-centimeter accuracy on the race course, event organizers leverage the system for on-the-water management of the sport. Telemetering of the course allows for rapid movement of marks and controlling course limits, while use of real-time overlap and zone-entry determinations enable umpires to make the most accurate decisions ever possible.

The team that developed the technology is made up of Director of Technology Stan Honey, AC LiveLine Project Manager Ken Milnes, Onboard Media Manager Mark Sheffield, and key America’s Cup management personnel including Denis Harvey, Richard Worth, Gary Lovejoy and Tim Heidmann; and Sportvision team members Jim McGuffin and Alan Trimble.

The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was presented on Monday, April 30, 2012 at the Frederick P. Rose Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York City. Others considered for the award included Hot Trax/Hot Spot, used by the Fox network for NASCAR and baseball telecasts, the Diamond Platform, used by baseball's MLB Network, and ESPN's 3-D coverage of the Masters golf tournament.