Sailing is not a spectator sport

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by CT249, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Well, that's what Fox reckons anyway. After all the attempts to make Olympic sailing more accessible and exciting to viewers, it was interesting and depressing to see this piece;

    http://www.foxsports.com/olympics/story/you-might-need-to-be-a-genius-to-understand-olympic-sailing-081016

    Basically the writer claims that despite the "ladder rungs" and all the other on-screen tech, even the foiling Nacra catamarans are pretty much unwatchable. From some angles it's a silly article - if a person doesn't have the brains to work out tacking angles then they probably couldn't work out why soccer players don't just pick up the ball or why a Tour de France rider just doesn't ride out ahead when the peleton has slowed up - but on the other hand it may show the limitations of the current approach.
     
  2. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    You can't communicate with people too unintelligent to sail.
    And Fox, well, they're geared to not the brightest?
    But the commentating at Rio (with Kiwi Peter Lester patiently explaining what was going on) - had excellent filming. Maybe other countries had different voice over?
    Lester may not be your average polished empty suit ... but he knows his yachting. That's fine with me.
     
  3. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    The arrows were very confusing, & there should be more crashes... was there words(?) all I got was a couple of pics, lots of ads and headlines, yeah there should be girls either in cheer squads or holding umberellas for the pilots...
     
  4. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Did I hear some bloke was penalised for rocking his boat too much ? I laughed anyway !
     
  5. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    They must change the rules for the boats so they have spectacular crashed. And lots of girls in bikinis should do it. it did wonders for the number of spectators watching women's volley ball and basket ball. And women's gymnastics too (any one remember the name of any famous male gymnastics medalists? Not).

    At the very least it will give us something to watch when the video is just some boring boats running downwind between the crashes.

    I think they are too concerned with "realistic" sail racing and less with showmanship. hell auto racing is boring to watch, but stock car racing has one of the highest viewerships of any sport in the USA...they always seem to get pics of scantily clad women in during the race.

    There will be no money in sailboat racing until they figure out a way to get more people to watch it. women in bikinis on boats is a natural I would think.
     
  6. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Yep, and that's a great message to send to women..... Do you guys have daughters you want to get involved in the sport, or just as cheerleaders? By the way, ratings in rhythmic gymnastics, which features women in skimpier outfits and more makeup, are cr*p whereas gymnastics events that show women as athletes rate through the roof. Triathlon and synchronised swimming feature lots of coverage of women in swimsuits and rate poorly. Women watch sport too.

    We could go the other way around and send the message that sailing was one of the first modern sports in which women excelled and the first sport in which women competed in and won at the Olympics. That way we may increase participation, rather than just getting a few minutes attention from couch potatoes. Any look at the ratings of the Olympics shows that high ratings don't lead to high participation, which is surely what the sport really needs.

    Oh, and there is a lot of money in sailboat racing at the moment. It's just that it comes from the more sustainable source of the owners.

    PS - the women in Olympic basketball aren't wearing bikinis so how can anyone say "it did wonders" for the sport?
     
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  7. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Agree with all that; it would just be nice if the sport would recognise it.

    The intelligent commentary seems to make the sport a lot more watchable than when they start screaming and hyping it up, as some do. The cricket commentary actually seems to be a good model to look at. As Bill Bryson observed, it's like listening to two old men fishing on a day when nothing's biting, but it actually works. The ratings seem to indicate that 49ers, on-screen graphics etc don't work.

    If we're desperate for viewers it could also be interesting to do a bay or harbour course, which could lend itself to some Tour de France style views and commentary about the scenery they are passing. It's not going to be perfect, but perhaps worth considering since it works very well for the Tour.
     
  8. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    It was interesting when they did the London Olympics cycling on roads I know pretty well. It was obvious the commentators kept getting lost. There was a fair sized group got away in front which didn't include the Brit hero and the commentators were saying stuff about "Oh they'll soon be reeled back in and matey's fast finish will get him there" and I was thinking, 'hang on, they're way way ahead, they're surely not going to catch that back up again'. And sure enough...
     
  9. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Come on guys, The Fox dudes description was hilarious. I suspect that he might know a little more about the sport than he reveals....well maybe not at the Gary Jobson or Tom Whidden level.

    I'll bet we could dream up a sailing event that would have almost no rules and be interesting to spectators. It could be a sort of a one leg drag race on a broad reach and girls in bikinis would be part of a crew. Standing start with drag racer style christmas tree lights. Some kind of fast boat....like a Tornado or something of the sort, maybe even a "run what'cha brung", style of boat. Bonus points could be awarded for making the most impressive wake and even more bonus points for rooster tails. More bonus points still for a sailboat that pulls a water skier or tuber.

    On the other hand we could quietly continue to do what we do and not care much about mass popularity. Just imagine, If the sport became too popular there would be Duck Dynasty types doing it.
     
  10. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    All indications are that the writer is completely incompetent and following the Fox formula of strong opinions on things they don't understand. Who wants the intelligent market, the idiot market is a hundred times bigger!

    This is completely irrelevant in the US -where there is absolutely no coverage of Olympic sailing, or 99% of other Olympic sports that are not running, swimming, women's gymnastics or ball sports. The Olympics are unwatchable!

    I don't think there is any point to discussing the relevance of Olympic sailing coverage. The proper question is the relevance of the Olympics to sailing. The percentage of spending and effort that sailing puts in to Olympic efforts is insane compared to the value and quality of sailing outside of the Olympics. And it is NOT only sailing! The 'big buck broadcast Olympic' sports are a huge mess. State sponsored cheating. Freak show athletes nobody can relate to. Corrupt and abusive IOC taking 70% of TV revenue while dictating that hosting cities spend tens of billions of dollars on infrastructure that will be an absolutely useless liability after one week! The US coverage of the olympics has been a tedious, boring rehash of the same five sports -with ALL the wasted time watching the expected winners sitting around before and congratulating themselves after! With all the wasted time my mind goes back to the same thought -those poor Brazilians, footing the bill for this extravagant boring crap -THANK GOD IT WASN'T CHICAGO!!!

    Network tv is a lost cause. Sailing needs to expand it's internet presence. The Volvo coverage was the best sports program I have seen in years. The AC 34 internet offerings were fantastic too. The great insult is that Larry actually had to pay networks to broadcast that fantastic event! There are several good (internet) sailing channels for weekly 'after the fact' coverage. What I would like to see is a calendar so I would know how and where I can watch closer to real time.
     
  11. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    But the facts show clearly that there's no decent correlation between people watching sport shows aimed at sexist rednecks and strong participation levels. Motor racing isn't a very popular sport in terms of participation. Perhaps significantly, though, it's about as popular compared to sailing in NZ as elsewhere, despite NZ's highly-promoted pro sailing scene and the lack of an international motorsport event.

    If sailors have kids let's all hope they give them better messages than "hey daughter, get into a bikini so couch potatoes can drool at you while your brother sails". The daughter of a woman I sailed against as a kid has just got Olympic silver - I don't think she ever got the ancient sexist message "hey girl, don't sail, just look pretty" that it seems BDF forumites want to send to women.

    Can I ask how many people here who have been advocating for women in bikinis actually (1) race; (2) have daughters they would like to see race (3) have female partners they would like to see race? How many of the people who answer "yes" to those questions want to see their daughters presented for couch potatoes to drool over? Acting like a bunch of stoneage sexist ******* is not inviting. It would also be interesting to see how many men who respond like that also complain because the woman in their life isn't into sailing (or there is no woman in their life).

    I started the thread because it seemed to show an interesting perspective on how the sport could and could not be promoted. Sad that it's degenerated like this. It's also no wonder that the sport in the USA is in such a poor state when comments from sailors there show that the level of sexism is so high. That's not going to encourage many wonen.

    PS - good to see a female helm on the Nacra that won the last race. I suppose she should have been on shore waving pom-poms instead.....
     
  12. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Yeah, I can relate to the frustration about the standard of commentary, but as I understand it a very high proportion of people watch the Tour for the scenery to a large extent. Sailing is still running almost last in the ratings even with medal races, RSXs, 49ers and (until 2012) kite-carrying cats so the current route isn't working.

    I've never been able to work out why sailing doesn't use its unique (I think) advantage of being the only Olympic sport that can take passengers for demonstration runs. A long term program of taking journalists and anchors out at with Olympians at a national level could be a cheap way of building up a groundswell of appreciation of the sport. Lots of journos could be put in a rented wetsuit and go out for a fang with Nacra Olympians, for example.

    Here in Oz the Tour de France live telecast was very much driven by the personal interest of one sports journo who was a club cyclist and who provided critical personal effort into talking the station into running the telecast; now it's become a significant ratings event. It would be interesting if a significant number of such people had personal experience in sailing.
     
  13. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    The BBC live stream has been pretty good (weather permitting) and the main commentators Niall Myant and Ian Walker (2 silvers) have generally been very fair and informative. The 'Catch Up' highlights have been the opposite - with some truly inane comments, but then it's probably a bought in jobbie.

    I paticularly enjoyed the attempted Laser Radial Medal race. Ian Walker said (correctly), they have brought them out here and it was a nice 10 knots, well now it's 39 they should send them home or words to that effect. They did!. I note Pete Burling reckoned he was hit by a 50-55 Knot gust coming in from the 49'er racing.....;)
     
  14. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    An interesting thought is that boats that gybe downwind must increase the confusion for casual spectators. Its fairly easy to explain why boats must zig zag upwind, but downwind gybing rather more of a challenge...
     

  15. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Unlike most of the sports in the olympics, sailing regardless of class, is a much more difficult thing for the less or uninitiated to comprehend. Watering down the commentary for the average viewer, becomes insulting to a sailor and the amount of information that has to be digested, just to have the basics, plus the Chinese fire drill that's occurring on the screen, tends to be too much. I've rarely seen a TV broadcast where the cameras could get close enough, offer enough interesting angles and commentary worth staying tuned in. Camera angles and venue location can be geared toward a much better show, but this takes experence, which seems a really small portion of the industry, so rather than spend the money to find out, it's cheaper and safer to just not show it.
     
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