Broadcasters test mercurial market for live to air surfing

17 Feb 2011 0 Share

Kelly Slater, coming to a TV near you when the Quiksilver Pro kicks off on February 26th.

Kelly Slater, coming to a TV near you when the Quiksilver Pro kicks off on February 26th.

When you switch on your TV on Saturday February 26, don't be surprised to find Slater, Fanning, Parko and co. tearing it up at Snapper. A deal announced yesterday between surf industry juggernaut Quiksilver and free-to-air- broadcaster ONE HD will see professional surfing debut on Australian small-screens as a live-to-air event, placing it in the company of mainstream sports such as football, golf, and cricket.

It will be an interesting experiment. Live webcasts have provided a huge successful platform for surf companies to stream coverage into the offices of frustrated surfers worldwide. But TV is a different beast, and creating a format that'll keep the masses glued to the tube on a Saturday morning could be a difficult ask.

Action sports may have had their name penciled onto the doorlist of maintream TV through the success of Olympic-sanctioned events, X Games and highlights shows from competition. But even in the company of snowsports, skateboarding and motocross, surfing is a black sheep. For a start, the playing field isn't flat (or static); heats are long; waiting periods are longer still, days pass without competition.

To combat the problem, normal programming will resume on laydays during the 12-day waiting period.

As anyone who's tuned out of a tennis or cricket match after extended rain delays will be aware, downtime does no make for compelling footage. And surfing has it in spades. It's one thing to pass a Friday arvo at work watching heat highlights, but whether viewers will stay glued to the couch to watch a few guys catch a for a handful of waves in 20 minutes is another matter.

To combat the problem, normal programming will resume on laydays during the 12-day waiting period.

ONE HD have previously hosted a number of surfing programs including event highlights for the past three years and have secured rights to broadcast Quiksilver Pro events in France and New York later in 2011.

You can see the full press release here.

So will it work? Find out for yourself when coverage of The Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro events on the Gold Coast kicks off on ONE HD from 10am (AEDST) Saturday, February 26…

For more information, head to quicksilverpro.com.au.


What do you reckon - is surfing too boring for TV?



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