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Television NZ Finalizes Agreements As Host Broadcaster For America's Cup

AUCKLAND, NZ, MAY 7, 1999--Television New Zealand has finalised arrangements for the television broadcasting of the America's Cup with the signing of a number of contracts with the Defender and the Challengers.

The contracts cover the international television feed of the America's Cup Match and the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Races.

The agreements are with the America's Cup 2000 Limited, organising authority for the America's Cup Match (AC2000) and the America's Cup Challenge for the Louis Vuitton Cup.

In essence three agreements have been signed. The first agreement (with America's Cup 2000) covers arrangements for the television production of the America's Cup match itself - the second (with ACCA) secures the host broadcast production of the Louis Vuitton Cup races to find the successful challenger and the third agreement (jointly with both parties) is for the provision of an International Broadcast Centre as a base for foreign television broadcasters arriving in Auckland to cover the races. In total more than 100 hours of coverage are being sold around the world.

As host broadcaster, TVNZ will manage and produce the international television signals for both series. As part of the contract starting 18 October 1999 TVNZ will provide daily highlight programmes during the first three round robins of the Louis Vuitton Cup and live coverage of the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals and finals. On 19 February 2000 live coverage of the America's Cup Match will begin.

At the height of racing TVNZ will be providing up to three simultaneous live feeds from the Hauraki Gulf. In order to accomplish this the host broadcast team will use up to 12 on-board cameras, three helicopter gyro-stabilised cameras, and three on-the-water cameras. The video feed will be linked with complex audio systems collecting ambient sound aboard competing yachts and will be enhanced by real-time animation highlighting tactical manoeuvres. The host broadcast production created by TVNZ will be available to all international broadcasters purchasing rights for coverage of America's Cup 2000. This list includes both competing and non-competing countries.

Foreign broadcasters coming to New Zealand will be hosted at TVNZ's Victoria Street television headquarters in a specially created International Broadcast Centre (IBC). They will be provided with all the facilities they need to produce, edit, present and transmit their coverage back to their respective countries.

TVNZ Chief Executive, Rick Ellis, says: "This contract is further recognition of TVNZ's reputation as one of the leading television producers of international yachting, earned through more than a decade of America's Cup, Whitbread and Olympic host broadcast coverage. We are delighted to be able to continue this association"

Tony Thomas, event director for AC 2000, says: "These contracts are a major step forward in the organisation of the regatta. Television coverage of an event of this size and importance is extremely complex, particularly when it involves the high technology required to bring video and audio in from the water, including the boats, the crews, the marks and the stake boats. We're absolutely confident that Television New Zealand will perform to the high level that will reflect great credit on New Zealand."

ACCA President Dyer Jones adds: "We are delighted to have reached an agreement with TVNZ. Their valued experience will go a long way towards ensuring we provide a first rate television package for consumption around the world."



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