AC35: What happened to the coverage on NBCSN? (Updated)
UPDATE: TFE's stalwart Facebook friend and SAILING ILLUSTRATED reader, Paul Homchick, says, "The NBCSN App is also available for the Roku streaming player and Amazon Fire TV/TV Stick. On both the Amazon platforms, and the Roku player, the AC stream is free, and does not require authentication of a subscription to a TV provider that carries NBCSN." Thanks, Mr Homchick, very much appreciated. And if anyone else has info to add here, please write as this article has been widely and appreciatively received. -Meg
THERE ARE ACTUALLY THREE NBC networks covering AC35 in the USA:
+ NBC Sports App (a.k.a. NBCSN digital) – on the internet via the app on your phone or tablet, or via a browser on your desktop or laptop;
+ NBC Sports Network (a.k.a. NBCSN cable/satellite) – the TV channel on your cable or satellite system, assuming you have NBCSN as part of your package (few basic cable packages include NBCSN), and also via the NBC Sports App; and
+ NBC – the main broadcast network that is available over the air in most areas of the USA, and on virtually all cable systems, and also via the NBC Sports App.
From the get go, the coverage for the Challenger Playoff Semifinals (which start today, but so far there is no wind) has been scheduled to be carried only on the NBC Sports App. See the chart, courtesy of ACEA, below. Presumably there is less interest in the USA when the Defender, ORACLE TEAM USA, is not racing, hence the AC is relegated to digital network. As you will know OTUSA do not race again until the AC Match, which begins June 17th.
When the Playoff Finals begin next Saturday, June 10th the show goes back on the NBC Sports Network (cable/satellite).
Once the AC Match rolls around on Saturday, June 17th the first four race days will be carried on the main NBC network. And in another sweeping change from past America's Cup regattas (when racing was run at least every other day) the first four race days are Saturday, Sunday, Saturday, Sunday. I'm sure quite a number of AC fans don't yet realize that. Additional race days, if necessary, and the show goes back to the Sports Network on cable/satellite.
Even though coverage in the USA of this week's Challenger Playoff Semifinals is available only on the NBC Sports App (digital, not cable/satellite), you can still watch it on a TV screen if you have a way to connect your laptop or phone/tablet to the TV. Here TFE is streaming the coverage from his phone to the TV via an Apple TV so he can keep working on his laptop. The only catch is that you have to be a subscriber to a cable system that has NBCSN to access it via their App. Yes, you can sign up and pay to watch live coverage via the ACEA app, but many have reported problems with it.