Thursday, 7 April 2011

America's Cup: Stan Honey Appointed Director of Technology

Bay Area resident Stan Honey (USA), a two-time Emmy Winner for Technical Innovations in Sports TV Broadcast and the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year for 2010, has been appointed Director of Technology for the 34th America's Cup by the America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA)

Stan Honey on board Groupama 3. Image copyright Team Groupama.

by Stephanie Martin

Honey is developing a system to track the America’s Cup catamarans to within 2cm, 10 times per second, and superimpose graphics elements such as ahead-behind lines on the live helicopter footage of the race. Previously America’s Cup broadcasts have only featured graphics visible in an animated view of the race.

The new graphics package is designed to help viewers follow the intense action of the AC45s and AC72s as they scream around the race course, all in live action. Opportunities to utilize the detailed data from the races are also being reviewed for internet viewers, mobile viewers, and real-time game applications.

“We are making an enormous investment in technology to engage a new generation of fans worldwide, as well as make the coverage compelling for experienced sailors,” said Richard Worth, Chairman, ACEA. “We are appointing a very well known name in TV technology and in sailing to drive this innovation and really revolutionize the coverage of the sport.”

A major figure in technological innovation in sports television, Honey co-founded Sportvision in 1998, where he led the development of the yellow first-down line widely used in the broadcast of American football, the ESPN “K-Zone” baseball pitch tracking and highlighting system, and the Race/FX tracking and highlighting system used in NASCAR.

Honey also is recognized as one of the most successful professional navigators in sailing, having navigated ABN AMRO to victory in the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race and having navigated Groupama 3 in setting the Jules Verne record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world under sail in 2010. Honey was recently awarded the US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award for 2010, one of the highest individual honors in sailing in the U.S.

“I’ve had two careers up until now, one as an electrical engineer developing navigation, tracking, and TV special effects, and the other as a navigator in professional offshore sailing,” said Honey. “Working for ACEA combines my two careers as I will be using both my sailing and technology backgrounds.”

In addition to use for broadcast, this tracking system will also be used by the America’s Cup Race Management team to revolutionize the on the water management of the sport.

“We are leading the way in technology for sailing - and the change will be dramatic,” said Iain Murray, CEO, America’s Cup Race Management. “John Craig, our Principal Race Officer, is working with Stan’s team to allow John to rapidly move marks and control the course limits, telemetering all of the course and mark data to the race boats, mark boats, and course marshal boats. Our chief umpire, Mike Martin, is working with Stan’s team to make real time overlap and zone-entry determinations using the 2cm tracking data. The America's Cup will be one of the leading sports in the incorporation of technology.”

Prior to co-founding Sportvision in 1998, Stan Honey worked as Executive VP Technology for News Corporation from 1993 through 1998. Honey co-founded Etak Inc., the company that pioneered vehicle navigation systems, in 1983, which was sold to News Corporation in 1989 and is now part of TomTom. Honey is also an inventor on 8 patents in navigation technology and 21 patents in tracking and television special effects.

America's Cup