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New Zealand Open: Live Streaming set up for Queenstown

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Attention: Sports Editors

Monday February 24, 2014

New Zealand Open: Live Streaming set up for Queenstown

The 94th New Zealand Open Championship will carry live streamed content for the first time in the tournament’s history.

The National Open, which will be staged at The Hills and Millbrook Resort this week from February 27 to March 2, will offer this service through Dunedin-based sports graphics company, Animation Research Ltd (ARL).

Golf fans from New Zealand, and further afield, will be able to visit www.nzopen.co.nz and watch the action unfold.

In the past ARL has provided its Virtual Eye Technology, used in golf tournaments around the world, at no cost to The Hills event.

This year, in the absence of live TV coverage, they will also produce a live stream of Holes 15, 17 and 18 on Saturday and Sunday, with a review show being streamed at 4:30pm on Thursday and Friday.

“This is definitely a work in progress,” says ARL CEO Ian Taylor.

“We are shipping fibre optic cables directly from the last cricket test in Wellington to Queenstown and our Virtual Eye golf team has just flown in from The Middle East and will head to Queenstown at the start of the week.”

Taylor is quick to point out that this is world leading technology – it will not be Ryder Cup or Open Championship coverage.

Those tournaments typically have 50 to 75 cameras on site and the crew is in the hundreds. ARL will have just three cameras, one for each hole, and will supplement that with the Virtual Eye technology they use in other tournaments.

“Whilst we may be lacking in hardware and sophistication what we are totally convinced of is that this is one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, it is also New Zealand’s Open and it deserves to be seen.”

Tournament director Michael Glading said the opportunity came to fruition reasonably late in the game and it was “an exciting development for the tournament”.

“I was talking to Ian Taylor only last week and explaining that the cost of producing Live TV meant that we weren’t yet in a financial position to screen the tournament live on Television,” said Glading.

“In typical Taylor fashion, he immediately sprung into action, galvanized his troops, and has now come to us with a proposal that will allow golf fans to see some live action, and to experience some of the fun that this unique pro-am format can show.

“It will not substitute for live television but it’s very exciting to have an element of live broadcast and to partner with a company [Virtual Eye] that is at the forefront of this technology.

“We are thrilled with the energy and enthusiasm that Virtual Eye has brought to the table to make this live streaming happen.  It is a real case of a Kiwi company combining a No.8 wire attitude with world-class technology.”

Although there will be no live television broadcast the New Zealand Open will be shown on TV in a one-hour highlights package that will air on Sky TV on March 6 (starting at 9.30pm on Sky Sport 3).

“The costs associated with producing a live television broadcast for golf are well documented and this has resulted in past New Zealand Opens running at significant financial losses,” said Glading.

“We aim to build an event that is sustainable in the long term, which has always been our goal. Our TV highlight package will do much to satisfy the TV demand to both local and international audiences, and this new initiative will certainly add to what we can deliver in terms of broadcast.”

Kiwis across New Zealand are encouraged to tune in to www.nzopen.co.nz to view the PGA Tour of Australasia tournament. 

For more information on live streaming visit: www.nzopen.co.nz
A one hour highlights package of the New Zealand Open Championship will be aired on Sky Sports during the following times:
-          Thursday March 6 9.30pm Sky Sport 3 (SS3)
-          Thursday March 6 12am SS3
-          Friday March 7 Noon SS2
-          Friday March 7 5.30pm SS4
-          Saturday March 8 10.30am SS1
(Times subject to change. See guides for times)

Follow the NZ Open
• www.nzopen.co.nz
• facebook: New Zealand Open
• @nzopengolf
• #NZOpen

NZ Open
• A minimum professional field of 132 players will play the first two rounds alternately at The Hills and Millbrook before the second round cut of 60 + ties.
• The NZ Open Champion will be the leading player after 72 holes of stroke play.

NZ Pro-Am Championship
• The NZ Pro-Am Championship will run concurrently to the main tournament.
• A minimum of 132 amateurs will partner with a professional and play in a best-ball format.
• The top 35 pro-am teams will progress to round 3 at the Hills and the top 10 pro-am teams will progress to play in the final round.

ENDS

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