Changing the face of racing coverage in New Zealand
Coverage of racing in New Zealand has seen a drastic improvement in recent weeks as NZRB introduces High Definition (HD) for all New Zealand thoroughbred racing.
It’s a move that will significantly enhance the viewing experience for customers and one that will more effectively showcase champion animals, quality bloodstock, top class trainers and jockeys.
Andy Kydd, NZRB’s General Manager of Media & Content said the move to HD was transformational for racing.
“In 2017 we changed the way we capture greyhound racing in New Zealand, which also brought a move to HD. Our customers absolutely love it” says Kydd.
“The picture quality is significantly better, crisp and clear, with much finer detail; even those without HD capability at home or watching online, in store or oncourse will notice a real improvement in the quality.”
The switch is thanks to the replacement of NZRB’s outside broadcast (OB) vehicles to new state of the art trucks supplied by Sony. Check out the difference in the coverage here.
“We’re currently the largest OB service provider in the country, but our equipment was over 15 years old. The risk of losing vision, even briefly, would have such a negative impact for our customers and for the racing industry. We had no option other than to invest in upgrading the fleet,” says Kydd.
“Through the use of more modern technology, we’ve been able to reduce the size of the fleet and right-size our broadcasting operation, this allows us to reduce costs and deliver more profit back to the racing industry.
“A project of this size and complexity in other countries would typically require a huge technical team to deliver it, with the infrastructure and budget to support it” says Kydd.
“The fact that the entire solution has been designed and delivered in house by our own broadcasting team, while still servicing more than 1000 race meetings across the three codes this past year, is an incredible achievement.”
The new OB vehicles will cover all thoroughbred meetings throughout New Zealand, with each truck based in one of four main regions - Northern, Central and Southern (Christchurch and Dunedin).
The top half of the South Island was the first cab off the rank with a successful launch at Riccarton in September.
All race meetings in the region will be transitioned from the current standard definition truck to the new high definition truck over the next six months, with NZ Cup & Show Week in November the first major carnival to be filmed and broadcast in full HD.
The second HD OB truck has arrived in New Zealand and is currently being tested, and the staff trained. This will be based in Central and is on track to be live in November and NZRB expects the roll out of the remaining OB trucks roll out to be complete by the end of 2019.
“We’ve also been adding additional raceday enhancements for premier meetings, including steady-cam coverage from the birdcage, super slow replay colour cameras low down on the finish line and drone coverage, for birds eye replay vision of the finish.”
“Continuing to deliver major improvements like this, on time and on budget, is so important to both our customers and the racing industry. Enhancements like HD and multiple camera angles are the standard that our customers expect and we’re committed to improving their experience,” says Kydd.
In other developments, in addition to the existing stable of thoroughbred shows such as Weigh In and The First Call, a new Saturday morning racing preview show, Punters Lounge Live has been launched. This provides another vehicle to stimulate interest, engagement and wagering for thoroughbred racing in New Zealand.