Making waves: How SailGP is working to bring its graphics production technology LiveLineFX to other sports

SailGP rolled out a refreshed graphics package midway through Season 4 this year. Pictured here, the New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, Christchurch, March 2024

SailGP is in the process of making its graphics production technology, LiveLineFX, available for other sports. LiveLineFX, which is produced remotely from SailGP’s broadcast studio in London for SailGP’s broadcast partners in 212 international territories, processes 1.15 billion data requests per hour from each of the ten state-of-the-art F50 catamarans per hour. Supplied by Oracle Cloud, it is all done in real time to generate unrivalled performance information.

We caught up with Tom Peel, SailGP’s director of LiveLineFX, and Melissa Lawton, SailGP’s chief content officer, to find out more about the use cases and development of LiveLineFX.

Why did you decide to roll LiveLine out to other sports?

TP: SailGP wouldn’t be the compelling viewing experience it is without LiveLine, and it’s now grown to be a huge part of the commercial success, we can see opportunities everywhere too in both these areas to help other sports realise new opportunities.

ML: It’s the obvious next step for such a high quality and well tested product.

Was this always the plan? So have you created this tech so that it is transferable? Or is it a happy coincidence that it can work in this way?

TP: LiveLine was developed for the America’s Cup, so it started with a very specific focus. Since the launch of SailGP we have been working on making it more accessible for our own internal needs as we increase the number of events and the ease and efficiency of the system, so it’s happened naturally but we have also kept doors open to enable easier integration with others.

Read more SailGP to push its Emmy Award-winning LiveLineFX graphics overlay to other sports properties

Have you already had enquiries about it from other sports?

ML: I had several enquiries after I spoke at Sportel in 2023; several people in the audience mentioned that they really needed something like the SailGP graphics for their TV coverage. This really sparked the momentum from my perspective to take it to the wider market.

The LiveLine team had already been testing with a number of entities to a create proof of concept, and we do have one of those rolling out in market this year.

How are you developing it exactly for us in other sports? What is being done to it?

TP: Keeping things generic on the input side helps keep a clean low bloat integration with anyone’s current data systems, and redesigning our Sports Logic parts to be modular, maintaining a repeatable ecosystem but with access to add specifics for any use case.

Why is it best for out of stadium sports? What can it give them exactly?

TP: We can do stuff for stadiums too, but where it really makes sense is where there is no physical infrastructure for branding, and no physical framing of the field of play. Allowing less kit to be taken to events which not only helps ease costs away from the broadcast but also contributes to our sustainability purpose and goal to reduce the overall carbon footprint by 55% by 2025.

What are the features of LiveLine that are going to appeal most to other sports?

TP: Virtual advertising. It would be great to think that showing speeds and other statistics will be a game changer for other sports but ultimately, the commercial side of things is what really powers decisions these days and the sports storytelling can piggyback the commercial value.

Will this be an off-the-shelf proposition for other sports, or will it be tailored for them?

TP: Its always going to be somewhat tailored, depending on the problems which need solving, some things will work out of the box, while others will need to be specific.

For instance, in horse racing the course is very clearly within the fences so its horse by horse information which works best, but for events where the track is put in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t much marking of the track, that’s where you would get the biggest gains in explaining the sport.
How do you plan to develop LiveLine in the future to increase its appeal to other sports, and for SailGP?

TP: We keep building into the ecosystem and will be launching a LiveLineVR phone app at our SailGP event in New York at the end of June which I think is going to be a big hit and builds on the layers we already have years of experience in. Watch this space!

Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters