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36th America's Cup is the most watched ever - reaching an audience of almost a billion viewers

by America's Cup Media 28 Jun 00:18 BST 28 June 2021
AC36 coverage pulled an international audience of almost a billion viewers © America's Cup Media

With an audience of almost a billion viewers, the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada achieved its clear broadcast and viewership objectives to be the most watched America’s Cup ever with the dedicated viewership audience 3.2 times the size of the audience of the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017.

An in-depth broadcast and media analysis undertaken by Nielsen revealed the AC36 events (ACWS Auckland, Prada Cup & America’s Cup Match) between November 2020- March 2021 reached a total global TV and live streaming audience of 941 million people globally.

The record audiences delivered significant value for the sponsors and hosts of the 36th America’s Cup. The measurement and evaluation analysis shows a Total Gross Media Value of over NZD$1.4 billion for the event, teams, hosts and sponsors.

“We were always very clear in our broadcast and viewership objectives after we won the America’s Cup in Bermuda,” said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton. “It is great we have achieved, in fact exceeded, our expectations in growing the sport and the event globally, despite the many challenges we faced. Technically we raised the bar with the TV coverage due to our production partnerships with Circle-O, ARL, Igtimi, Shotover, Amis Productions and the whole production crew and commentary team in Auckland.”

At 68.2m, the dedicated TV audience for the 36th America’s was more than 3 x that of the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda (20.5m). The dedicated audience includes all those who watched the event LIVE, delayed or highlights on TV, americascup.com, YouTube and Facebook.

The aim of the 36th America’s Cup’s global TV coverage was to inspire new fans and grow the sport of sailing and the America’s Cup. This was delivered by prioritising free to air broadcast partnerships, supplemented by additional major pay tv networks, and by retaining live streaming rights on americascup.com and America’s Cup social media channels.

The culmination of this approach in distribution saw the live and highlights 36th America’s Cup TV broadcast from Auckland, New Zealand screened across 55 major network broadcasters covering 198 territories. The live streaming online via digital channels was live and free in 236 territories across the world.

The coverage from 36th America’s Cup TV consisted of:
- 21 live production days
- 25 live press conferences
- 21 daily 26min highlights
- 7 weekend/event 52min highlights
- 30 video news releases
- Racing clips + melt reels
- 140 features each lasting 3min
- 3 magazine/preview shows
- 1 post event documentary: The Last Call

The TV graphics by Animation Research Ltd in Dunedin continued to lead the innovation through the implementation of on water augmented reality graphics which helped to tell the story of the dramatic racing in the AC75’s, as well as providing additional highly effective exposure to the event sponsors.

Social media was a further area of strong growth across all the America’s Cup channels. Followers more than doubled from 491k to 1.09m between the 35th and 36th America’s Cups. Social media channels delivered over three times more impressions than the previous 35th edition, increasing from 159m to 499m impressions during the racing period and totalled 715m impressions over the entire 36th America’s Cup campaign.

Viewing of racing online and through social media was integral to the overall viewership strategy. By reserving the digital rights for the event to enable live streaming of the racing for free to as many people globally as possible and by streaming on YouTube, Facebook and americascup.com, the America’s Cup grew the dedicated audience by 10.2m viewers, which is equivalent to 19% of the TV audience.

The America’s Cup YouTube live streamed every race and press conference from the opening of the ACWS through to the prize giving of the 36th America’s Cup leading to 7.9 million viewers watching 7.7 million hours of America’s Cup content over 36 million sessions. Simply put, on average, each user consumed just under an hour of America’s Cup racing while the event was on.

Explanation of audience terms

“Dedicated Coverage” refers to programming entirely comprising coverage of the 36th America’s Cup – e.g. live, delayed and highlights programming.

“Dedicated Audience” includes all those who watched the event live, delayed or highlights on TV, americascup.com, YouTube and Facebook.

“Total Coverage” comprises Dedicated Coverage plus news and sports magazine programming that featured the 36th America’s Cup.

“Total Audience” represents all viewers of Total Coverage. It does not include press or other online distribution which would increase the total reach of the 36th America’s Cup.

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