Whisper’s SailGP Production Plans Breaking New Ground


Whisper is next week set to produce round one of SailGP, a completely new, fast-paced championship which re-defines the sport of sailing. The year-long competition kicks off at 1600hrs local time on 15 February in Sydney, Australia and Whisper’s surrounding broadcasts will include some innovative ‘firsts’ in international sports production.

Tasked to deliver exciting and impactful programming to broadcast rights holders throughout the world, Whisper aims to widen the sports appeal and grow viewership. Season one of the global championship will feature five rounds (Sydney, San Francisco, New York, Cowes, Marseille), each with two days of action, and will be contested by six national teams (USA, Great Britain, France, Australia, China and Japan).

The delivery package is extensive. Whisper will deliver two 2-hour live racing broadcasts for each round of the championship. These will include an international world feed, as well as a fully-presented world feed with Ed Leigh as the main presenter. There will be a Japanese feed and a Mandarin feed, as well as highlights packages from both days of racing (26” Fri and 52” Sat), daily VNRs for news channels in three languages (ENG, CHI, JPN), plus a supply of material for digital channels.

In a first for international sports broadcasting, Whisper and SailGP will deliver a complete, fully produced programme into China, including end-product graphics and commentary. It is one of the first times a full international sports production has been taken by the country in an agreement which will help SailGP maintain global presentation continuity.

Whisper will be using a variety of advanced media technology to help bring the story from the water to the fan. Productions will feature an augmented version of patented LiveLine Fx technology (with tailored versions for Japanese and Mandarin audiences) to visually communicate the competition and help new (and current) fans become far more engaged.

In addition, an ambitious combination of drones and helicopters will be used to capture the racing action on the water, superseding traditional chase boats, which are unable to match the ground-breaking speeds of the F50 wingsailed catamarans used in the championship. Their technological advancement means they are capable of more than 50 knots (60mph).

For round one, a fibre optic cable has been laid underwater to connect Shark Island, where the presentation will take place, to the Sydney Harbour mainland (1km), to facilitate communications. Whisper will be using RF links from all its onsite cameras to produce the shows and will be working with TimeLine TV, who are helping to deliver the technical elements.

For the presenter-led feed, Ed Leigh will be joined by double Olympic winning sailor Shirley Robertson (analysis and co-commentary), while the lead commentator will be Alastair Eykyn. For each round they will be joined by a local expert; in Sydney this will be Olympic silver medallist, Lisa Darmanin.

Full details of where you can watch SailGP can be found here: https://sailgp.com/about/wheretowatch


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Jason Rubino