NBC is banking that many sports fans will pull away from pro football and baseball on a September weekend in 2013 to watch a sailing race.
With a host of technological innovations, the NBC Sports Group will broadcast the 34th America's Cup from San Francisco Bay beginning Sept. 7, 2013. The first two days of Team USA/Oracle Racing's Cup defense will be broadcast on NBC. It will be the first time since 1992 that the Cup Finals will be shown on broadcast TV. The rest of the races, which end Sept. 22, will be carried on NBC Sports Network, a cable outlet.
The NBC Sports Group also will broadcast the Louis Vuitton Cup, also on the bay, which will run July 4 to Sept. 1, 2013, and will determine the challenger for the America's Cup finals.
The racing will take place in the United States for the first time in 18 years. Since the course will be on the bay with the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and Alcatraz as a backdrop, race organizers are confident the event will lure millions of TV viewers as well as huge crowds of onlookers.
Previous Cup races took place well offshore, putting severe limitations on TV coverage. That won't be a problem in 2013, and race organizers are making the event further appealing to TV by reducing races to about 35 minutes.
"To connect with a national television audience, we know we must deliver a product that is compelling, exciting and world-class, and I believe we have accomplished that goal," Richard Worth, chairman of the America's Cup Event Authority, said.
High-definition cameras and 14 microphones will be set up on each boat. In addition, TV viewers will be able to clearly see who's leading a race through a helicopter shot that will incorporate LiveLine, a graphics system created by the same team that developed the yellow first-down line in football telecasts.
(Tom FitzGerald is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. firstname.lastname@example.org.)