ARL Sports division, Virtual Eye, added a new dimension to its Internet coverage of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur: live audio commentary from the raceboats. Guest audio commentator Ross Blackman of New Zealand rode as 18th man aboard Emirates Team New Zealand and provided live commentary to the virtual broadcast. Play-by-play analysis was provided by America’s Cup veteran Peter Lester of New Zealand, who was in a studio watching the feed from off the water.Blackman’s commentary added great insight during Team New Zealand’s match against Russia Synergy, easily the most exciting match of the regatta. The match featured an OCS and four lead changes, including one just 10 lengths from the finish when Team New Zealand rolled Synergy in its own private puff. It also featured huge windshifts, which Blackman was able to talk viewers through as they happened.
During 2009 Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland the racing was so close at times that the human eye struggled to identify a winner. One of the best examples was a match between China Team and Luna Rossa where the lead boat, Luna Rossa, had to put in a penalty turn on the finish line as their opposition thundered down behind. Race officer Peter Reggio, at the finish line, made the call. Media commentators turned to Virtual Eye, who re-ran the computer animations frame by frame as the pair crossed the line to substantiate Reggio’s call... Luna Rossa had won. Throughout the Pacific Series the daily live television broadcast featured Virtual Eye as the main feed, supplemented by live video footage shot from the hilltop vantage point of North Head with constant live commentary from two teams, one afloat and one ashore in the studio. The result was impressive. With one camera, one animation system and a team of live commentators, suddenly the action was available ashore, online, on the airwaves and on TV.