The America’s Cup regatta will be televised live in the United States for the first time in two decades, after race officials announced Thursday that NBC will carry the international event coming to San Francisco Bay over the next two years.
It’s an exciting development for organizers, who are attempting to remake the sport with larger and faster boats that they hope will draw new sailing fans and impress aficionados.
Air dates are yet to be finalized, according to the America’s Cup Event Authority spokeswoman Stephanie Martin, although nationwide broadcasts will include events coming to San Francisco in August and for the 2013 finals, which will feature massive 72-foot catamarans.
Organizers also have been touting the introduction of overlay graphics — similar to those used to mark the first-down lines on NFL broadcasts — to help newcomers understand the layout of the race course.
Cameras will be affixed to racing boats, along with more than a dozen microphones, to capture the first-person sights and sounds.
“It does tell the story of sailing in a way that a mainstream audience will respond to,” Martin said.
Other big draws for the television audience will include celebrity British sailor and Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie, who is set to join Oracle Racing — the Cup defender — in preparation for building his own team.