Louisville Magazine

Breeders Cup 2018

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8 BREEDERS' CUP #BC18 NOT YOUR GRANDFATHER'S BREEDERS' CUP ◊ Change seems to be a daily occur- rence in the digital era and for the Breeders' Cup adapting to the needs of a tech-savvy audience has become a key component in preparing for each annual edition of the World Championships. e upcoming 35th Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2-3 will be no exception to that rule. ere has been considerable plan- ning to create an event as entertaining and satisfying in terms of cutting-edge technology as any other major sporting event. Among some of the innovative fea- tures awaiting fans at Churchill Downs or watching at home or on their mobile device are a Virtual Reality experience, expanded use of a live jockey cam, live streaming, the introduction of a "Bat- Cam" to televise the races and enhanced interactive and social media coverage of the event. around to be at a venue like Churchill Downs." e emerging virtual reality technol- ogy utilizes new standalone VR headsets such as the Oculus Go or headsets like Google Cardboard that can be attached to a smart phone to create a virtual Breeders' Cup experience for users around the world. At Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup, a series of specialty cameras will create a 360-degree view of three areas of the racetrack: the backstretch, the paddock and the winner's circle. e 360-degree virtual reality videos will transport fans into high action areas and be available to view through the Breeders' Cup Website (BreedersCup. com), Mobile App and YouTube Chan- nel. Viewers can also watch the live 360 VR broadcast through head mounted devices like the Google Daydream or Oculus Go via the YouTube app. Even for those without virtual reality capabilities or headsets, viewers can use the feature to scan the area and watch whatever they choose. "It's a small but growing segment of the population that has virtual reality ca- pabilities, but even if people do not have access to it, they can watch in a more traditional 3D setting so they can look around and see everything within view," McDonald says. "Fans will be able to see the backside where the horses assemble before they come over to the paddock. A second camera will be located in the center of the paddock so there will be an unbelievable view of looking down at the horses in their stalls. e third camera will be on the front side near the winner's circle. You can jump in at any one of them throughout the day and experience whatever is happening in that location." All of these cameras will be incor- porated into a fully-produced VR-360 degree show that will feature on-air talent who will take viewers to the most pertinent view at the moment. "Our goal is to use emerging technol- ogy to bring fans at home more into the on-site experience and to create areas where we can be more engaging with our brand and content. We have two great days of racing and the more we can do to supplement the linear television product with interactive content that reaches new people and keeps them engaged for the two days, the better it is for everyone," says Justin McDonald, vice president of marketing and digital for the Breeders' Cup. Lending a helping hand in the process is having the event at Churchill Downs which handles the sport's largest crowds each year on the first Saturday in May for the Kentucky Derby. "It absolutely helps to be at Chur- chill Downs. ey handle a huge event and they know how to put on a great show and market it to their customers," McDonald says. "It's great all the way By Bob Ehalt From virtual reality to live streaming to the "Batcam," new technology enhances the viewer experience.

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