By Robert Kieckhefer
"cutting edge" technology of sports television be of any help to
horse racing? Some of the pioneers in television tech said yes, in
presentations May 7 at the Asian Racing Conference in Hong Kong.
"Our philosophy is bringing people closer to the game, making them
feel what it's like on the field of play," said Gary Burns, head of
programmes and production for FOX Sports Australia.
said FOX Sports Australia uses such techniques as "Cornerpost Cam" in
rugby, "ref cam" in soccer and "FOX Kopter," a drone-like
device that provides mobile and wireless coverage above sports events,
including a recent introduction into surfing.
"One went into the drink just a couple of months ago. That wasn't a
great moment," he admitted.
Gary Burns, Head of Programs and Production at Fox Sports, Australia, gives his presentation in the session. - Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club
through video clips, he demonstrated the technique "is almost like being
there" for the viewer.
Heise, from German-based Riedel Communications, detailed much more expensive
and complicated communications and coverage equipment used in Formula One racing,
the Red Bull Air Race and the 2012 Stratosphere Jump by Felix Baumgartner in
New Mexico, which would have been impossible as a commercial video presentation
without special-purpose systems.
enhances presentation of events through multiple camera positions, graphics,
post-production digital, second screen views and "point of view"
provided by miniaturized cameras, "bridging the distance from the action to
of those operations involves horse racing. So how could their products and
innovations benefit racing?
noted Formula One, without enhanced communications, "is really
boring." In today's world of sports fans' high expectations and short
attention spans, the parallel to racing is obvious.
Joerg Heise, Managing Director and Chief Operations Officer of Riedel Communications, speaks at this session. - Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club
"Application of technology expands the attention span of the
viewer," Heise said. "They are emotionally involved in what they're
seeing. It all boils down to being fully immersed as an audience and not just
watching and getting bored."
his company is "trialing" with the Hong Kong Jockey Club at the Happy
Valley Racecourse. And Oonagh Chan, head of broadcasting services for the HKJC,
said the use of technology, including aerial coverage, is important to the
HKJC also has an extensive graphical version of races, used both on track and
in the "gamification" of racing for younger fans, Chan said.
Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, presented to the seminar a
summary of United States' initiatives in television, including the America's Best
Racing series and the newer "Jockey Club Tour on Fox" partnership
with FOX Sports1.
Gagliano said the increased television exposure, supported by Web-based
and social media outreach, has played a role in recent increases in wagering
and attention to major American racing events, including the Triple Crown