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Wind in Her Sails: SailGP's on Its Plans to Exploit Even More Data Points for Fan Engagement in the Upcoming Season

03/05/2022

Wind in Her Sails: SailGP's on Its Plans to Exploit Even More Data Points for Fan Engagement in the Upcoming Season By Heather McLean, Editor

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - 8:00 am

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SailGP season three is returning to screens on May 14 as this thrilling wind-powered racing series takes to the seas around Bermuda. SVG Europe caught up with SailGP's Director of Technology Warren Jones to discuss the main learnings from the mass of new broadcast technologies implemented during the sport's second season and find out what we might expect to see coming up in the broadcast of the new season.

On SailGP's second season which closed at the end of March 2022 in San Francisco, Jones comments on what the main learnings were from the mass of new broadcast technologies implemented during the period.

He says: Going back to the first event in season two, the UK was under lockdown. As we were leaving the UK, we were greeted by police telling us that we are not allowed to leave. We had to have a document saying that we're working overseas, so for that point alone, to get out of the country to do a TV global event in another was extremely difficult.

For us not to be able to travel with huge amounts of people like we used to, and have people working from London and being able to work in their homes around the UK or around the world, connecting to London to do what they needed to do, was really, really important because I don't think we'd be able to get the Bermuda and the Toronto events away without [remote broadcast] technology.

We're extremely lucky that we started [SailGP] with a blank sheet of paper, and therefore we could push it into a direction where we wanted to go and we didn't have the constraints of legacy software, legacy hardware, and all these type of things. We're constantly looking and trying to iterate these improvements and be more sustainable and more efficient in how we do things

Timeline TV has facilitated SailGP's epic remote production since its first season. Notes Jones: We've been working with Timeline from the start and we're going into our third year with them. We're really, really proud to be working with these guys and girls because we can throw them a problem and say, we want to do something a little bit differently , and they huff and puff a little bit, and then they say, yeah, this is probably the right way to go . The people there are really, really collaborative. It works well for SailGP and Timeline.

Timeline TV has facilitated SailGP's epic remote production since its first season. Here crew are hard at work during season two form the London, Ealing Timeline TV studios

Exploiting the data points

Part of what is being further developed for season three is the use of the masses of data generated by the boats while racing. Says Jones: We have around 30,000 data points per F50, the sailboat that the athletes compete in. From that, we generate around 40 billion data requests every afternoon, once the boats are out there [on the water]. So we've over-engineered the F50's in a way. When we produced the boat and created the architecture of the data, [we're still looking at] where that all that data goes into the Oracle Cloud, and how can we utilise more information from it.

We're constantly looking at the data. What information can this tell us? Where can this go? How can we make the boat go faster? And we're also looking now about the sustainability angles of it; we know the wind [speed], the water temperature, all this around [the boats], and we're open to giving this information to local sustainability partners in venues. We can use that to test when we go back in the following year, or over a certain amount of time, as well, so that's quite interesting; it's the first time we're not using technology to make the boat go faster. We're actually using it to monitor other things around the environment.

Currently, only around 25% of the data generated by the F50's is utilised, which is invested heavily in tracking the boats and course in real time and translating that information into augmented reality graphics to give viewers a strong sense of what is happening on the screen.

Jones says: We're not in a football field where we have a goal and a halfway line. We work on the water, so we use augmented reality graphics that we introduced in 2021. We need to know everything about the racecourse; we need to know where the boats are and we need to know within one centimetre where the boats are. We need to know where the marks are. We need to know where the everything is. From that information, everything goes into the Oracle Cloud and from the Oracle Cloud then we draw a map of what that [racecourse] looks like in a virtual world.

As to what SailGP could do with the 75% of unused data, Jones says, there's tons of stuff we want to do . He goes on: There's a couple of things [I would really like to do]. I can't really talk about it at the moment, but there's some things that we think are going to probably blow the broadcast industry away; we think it's something that will revolutionise a lot of it. We're doing some testing in Bermuda, and we're also doing some testing in Chicago. We'll review those tests and then we will probably look to release those tests to the public.

Looking at season three, Jones says that a large focus will be placed on exploiting more of the data points created by the F50's. For season three, we're looking to double down on our data. In partnership with Oracle, we have a platform called SailGP Insights. [We're going to be] utilising more data and letting the fan go behind the scenes and look at that data and be able to choose what data they wa
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2022/05/03/wind-in-her-sails-sailgps-on-it...
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