It’s rare when a sailing race joins the likes of NASCAR or Major League Baseball for a global award. Now technology and innovation have catapulted the Volvo Ocean Race into an awards competition hosted by Yahoo! featuring the biggest sports in the world.

The Sports Technology Award nomination from Yahoo! focuses on how the Volvo Ocean Race used technology to dramatically improve access to the competition. More and more sailing events are experimenting with technology to put fans right on the boat.

The 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race was the most engaging and accessible edition in history. Fans accessed content quicker than ever before with an increased focus on authentic and raw stories from the racetrack.

The sailing experienced was beamed back from the most remote corners of the globe. Photo by Brian Carlin/Volvo Ocean Race.

The race racked up 111 million unique sessions on its race tracker, 194 hours of live coverage, and 1.9 billion impressions across social channels. Dedicated onboard reporters told the story of life onboard and transmited back to Race HQ in Alicante as it happens. This delivered a more immersive experience for Race fans around the globe.

Technology at the heart of the race

Race Technology Director Samuel Piñeiro was delighted that the Race’s technology and storytelling efforts achieved a nomination for the award.

“Technology and innovation are at the heart of this Race. Not just for the sailors battling for glory around the world, but to bring the story to life for our fans all over the globe and in our Race Villages.

Drones captured spectacular footage from each sailboat in the race.

“We delivered new angles on sailing, including the first ever drone footage from the Southern Ocean and even live broadcasts from Point Nemo – the most remote spot on the planet. That’s where the sailors are closer to the astronauts in the International Space Station than civilisation on land.”

He added: “Delivering an event of this scale from some of the most challenging regions on Earth isn’t easy. We were fortunate to have the help of some incredible technology partners, including the likes of Inmarsat and Cobham. They made it possible for us to transmit footage from the boats to Race HQ – and to fans’ screens – around the clock.

This is another example of technology putting sailing on a bigger stage, giving more people the opportunity to enjoy the sport.

The final award ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 2nd in London. The prize includes entries representing 50 sports from 30 countries.