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America’s Cup: Place Your Bets

The results are in from the first two days of the Prada America’s Cup World Series Auckland. With two days of racing to go, New York Yacht Club’s American Magic and Emirates Team New Zealand are tied with three points each, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team is in third with two points, and Ineos Team UK is last with four losses.

Cool.
© 2020 © COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi2

Like every Cup cycle, this one comes into focus and becomes more fun once the sailing begins. But that doesn’t stop the controversies. A big one for sailors in the US is the challenge of actually watching the racing. Most of the world seems to have access to the live racing feed on local television or social media. In the US you’re supposed to pay $175 to NBC or have the right cable bundle in order to watch. That’s a barrier for the US fan base, and a barrier to increasing the fan base. Is it only in America that you have to pay to watch the America’s Cup?

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team shows off the fearsome fighting look of foiling monohulls.
© 2020 © COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi3

Then there’s the controversy over the boat selection. J Class sloops, 12-Meters, IACC boats, foiling cats and now foiling monohulls — regardless of the choice of weapons, winning the America’s Cup has always been an enormous, expensive challenge, but also an exceptionally rewarding achievement. For the teams, it’s an intense, multi-year effort.

For sailors it’s a spectacle. What do you like to watch? There’s no doubt the designers, engineers, builders and sailors working on these boats have created a stunning craft, but is this the kind of racing you enjoy? To us, it looks a lot like a waterborne video game.

YouTube America's Cup
The YouTube video replays on the digitally enhanced playing field.
© 2020 YouTube

Then there’s the question of who’s going to win. With an entirely new concept, millions of design dollars, and technically challenging boats, there’s a risk that one team will have something so uniquely advantageous that the racing becomes meaningless. After these first two days, it looks like the racing will be close. In addition, the sailors already seem confident enough in their abilities to control the boats that we’ve seen some very aggressive maneuvers. We guess there will be a collision or some other colossal drama before this thing is over.

Now, for those of you watching, are you ready to put some money down on who’s going to win? Ineos Team UK appears to be the only one currently off the pace. But, as we all know, Ben Ainslie has been involved in a major America’s Cup comeback before. There’s room for the Brits, and all the teams, to improve.

America's Cup unavailable
Much of the world can watch for free on YouTube but in the US this is the message you get. The cost to watch the America’s Cup feels like prescription drug prices: $400 a month here and $5 a month in Canada or Mexico.
© 2020 YouTube

It’s a shame not to be able to watch live in the US without plunking down $175, because, especially here in California, the racing is on at a convenient 6 p.m. Regardless, the real Cup racing doesn’t happen until March. Perhaps other options will emerge by then. We were told by someone to try the Tor browser, but hacking headlines keep us more paranoid than ever about new downloads to our computer. Besides, at this stage of the game, the replays and highlights available at Americascup.com or on the Americas’s Cup Facebook page provide good insight into the action ahead. And the boats are pretty cool. What do you think?

6 Comments

  1. Steve Rienhart 7 months ago

    I’m recording and watching the cup for free on NBC Sports at 10pm PST, Channel 220 on DirecTV. The upside to the foiling era: lead changes. Rarely saw that in the slow boats.

  2. Steve Grogan 7 months ago

    I also recorded the racing on NBC SPORTS on Dish channel 159.
    With those sharp foils outboard of the hulls any wrecks will be spectacular and unfortunately very dangerous

  3. Craig Russell 7 months ago

    I read a couple comment on Scuttlebut about folks who paid the money to watch the AC. They were sorely disappointed as there was a large graphic on the page showing the course and only one camera on each boat to cover the race. Not sure they can get their money back.

  4. barry spanier 7 months ago

    i’d rather watch 5O5 racing. boats are still cheap, rules make it reasonably fair, and it’s fast and furious if in the right location.

  5. David Hume 7 months ago

    Unimpressed so far. The only positive is that its a good excuse to go to the local sports pub!

  6. Rich Latvala 7 months ago

    The delayed broadcast on 220 was only for Thursday and Friday. No broadcast on NBC Sports even delayed on Sat and Sun.

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