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America's Cup - Babble and static – where’s the clear message
ACWS - MuscatAC Media

America’s Cup – Babble and static

Long-time America’s Cup correspondent, Keith Taylor, surveys the America’s Cup scene for the America’s Cup Discussion Group on LinkedIn

The first ACWS regatta of the year, in Muscat, Oman, is less than two weeks away but the America’s Cup home page is going gaga over the fact that the 2018 FIFA World Cup and rugby’s Webb Ellis Cup were displayed with the America’s Cup on Feb 6-7 as part the long-running “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. OK, the LV exhibition is a stunner and I’d kill to fly to the other side of the world to take it all in but hey, it opened last year on 4th December. If you’re interested it runs ‘til the end of this month.

Continuing this sad saga, it seems we missed the brief but incredible two-day opportunity to see not only the trophies but their meticulously hand-crafted LV travel cases. Merde! Oh yeah, Jimmy was there, along with Thierry Dusautoir and footballer Frank Leboeuf.

Meanwhile, Muscat. On the AC home page there is a “nice taster” for Oman which is a Facebook video with old and varied crash and burn sailing action from past events.Not a camel in sight. Nothing about TV schedules, streaming coverage, innovative new media, courses, or site preparation! Sorry but that’s a sour taster for me.

Also on the home page, “Ben’s LandroverBAR loves the Motivational Wall” in its gym. Nah it’s not a strength, agility and endurance challenge. Just a bunch of coach exhortations on a poster to dig in and do better.

America's Cup - Babble and static – where’s the clear message

The three Cups – protected by Louis VuittonAC Media

The only hard news is the “board system issue” that blew chunks out of the topsides out of the Softbank Team Japan AC45. Basically a throwaway mention. One facebook photo from the team and a few soothing words from Deano. More on that later.

With 50-plus years in the newspaper and magazine game, and many of those with a focus on the America’s Cup, I categorize today’s online coverage into four broad categories. Hard news, soft news, event and team promo and marketing pandering.

My score card, with ten points the highest, rates today’s official America’s Cup site, as follows:
+ Hard News – 1 point
+ Soft News – 4 points
+ Event and Team Promo – 4 points
+ Marketing Pandering – 10 points

In other words it’s as mushy as a stockyard in New Zealand’s Waikato cow country.

Hey, there are less than two weeks to the first race of the ACWS in Oman. It should, it must, surely improve as the start date nears but the current content and direction is a damning reflection on the event organizers.

+ Where are the accounts of teams setting up and practising in Muscat?
+ The site’s Schedule feature advises Feb 26-28 and shows a pretty landscape. That’s it?
+ Is no broadcast TV envisaged or scheduled? None mentioned?
+ Can we expect a timely update and subscription for the AC App? So far, silence!
+ Where is the camels and herders vs ACWS skippers culture swap story?
+ Where’s the piece about AC sailors also fighting to qualify for the Olympics?

The sky’s the limit with potential for great content but instead we get a prim little text announcement noting that the first race of the America’s Cup is 500 days away! Geeez, I really wanted to know that.

There is, I submit, a debilitating fundamental flaw to the philosophy and design of the Official Site.

At the beginning of this cycle, it was mandated that all teams maintain their own sites and link them to the Official home page. Thus everything to be found in one place. Great move! But only if the minders of the home page actively encourage and give prominence to good team stories, photos, video. That is simply not happening.

Instead, the Official site is hostage to the promotions and the pronouncements of the Marketing team.

Example: As mentioned, Softbank Team Japan blew up their daggerboard mechanism and possibly came close to sinking their boat. A good, if muted, broad brush account of the unexpected problem appeared on the team’s web site two days ago.

Go chasing and you’ll find click here

Of course it never got close to the AC home page.

A little good news here is that today’s dissemination of AC news is broad and diverse, if fragmented – web sites both official and unofficial, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, you name it.

The bad news is that the Official AC site is glossy, glitzy and shallow, and in thrall to the marketers. What it sorely lacks is a push to track the slowly escalating Cup buildup, create original content and aggregate the best accounts from around the world. There’s still time. 500 days to be exact.

These comments were first published in the.https://Americas Cup Discussion Group at Linkedin They have been edited for continuity.

Click here to visit the LinkedIn Forum

by Keith Taylor

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