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Documentary Looks at Ted Turner’s America’s Cup Victory

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Ted Turner
Ted Turner in his greatest race. Photo: sailinfestival.com

Note: Turner was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the United States Sports Academy in 2000

“The story of Courageous and Ted Turner’s victory in 1977 is one of the most remarkable and unusual chapters in sports history,” said Mark Levy, Senior Vice President, Original Productions and Creative, NBC Sports Group, announcing that NBC Sports Films will premiere Courageous, a one-hour documentary which chronicles media pioneer and sailing maverick Ted Turner’s quest to win the 1977 America’s Cup, on Saturday, June 17, 2017 on NBC. “Turner’s unconventional approach on and off the high seas made for headlines across the globe. Courageous will not only excite dedicated sailing fans watching our broadcast of the 35th America’s Cup, but will also appeal to admirers of the Turner legacy, and anyone who loves one-of-a-kind stories,” added Mark Levy. The special will air immediately following NBC’s coverage of Race 1 of the 2017 America’s Cup Finals.

Courageous, named for the boat that Turner captained, examines his journey to win and defend the America’s Cup, and explores his tireless pursuit throughout the decade to build the iconic Turner media and sports empire which included CNN, Turner Broadcasting Szstems,, the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, and the Goodwill Games.

While suspended from running the Braves and working through the infancy and challenges of early cable television with his SuperStation, Turner became fixated with winning the 1977 America’s Cup. The unconventional pioneer bet his reputation and image on the victory, and saw glory in a 4-year-old boat and a crew that others had written off. Courageous features interviews with Turner, his America’s Cup crew members, and sailing historians. Additionally the film includes archival footage from the 1977 America’s Cup and Turner’s multifaceted career.

As the exclusive U.S. media rights holder for the 2017 America’s Cup Finals and America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs, NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will combine to provide more than 35 hours of coverage of both events. NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2017 America’s Cup marks the broadcaster’s second consecutive presentation of the event. It televised the 2013 America’s Cup, in which Oracle Team USA staged a dramatic comeback, winning eight consecutive races to come from behind and defeat Emirates Team New Zealand, 9-8.

Courageous is the latest project produced by NBC Sports Films and NBC Olympics. Additional films include More Than Gold: Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which aired leading up to the Rio Olympic Games; Center of Attention: The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson, which aired during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final; Lokomotiv, Space Race, and Nancy & Tonya, which all aired during the 2014 Sochi Olympics; and Their Finest Hour, which aired during the 2012 London Olympics.

Courageous is produced by Mark Levy, Senior Vice President, Original Productions and Creative, NBC Sports Group; David Michaels, Coordinating Producer, NBC Sports Group; and Matthew Allen, Senior Features Producer, NBC Sports Group.

NBC Sports Films, a division of NBC Sports Group, was founded in 2015 and produces sports documentaries that air across NBC, NBCSN, NBC Sports Regional Networks, and NBC Sports Digital’s platforms. Using the story telling abilities of the Emmy Award-winning production units that produce NBC Sport’s coverage of the Olympics, Sunday Night Football, and the Stanley Cup Final, NBC Sports Films shines a spotlight on historical moments and compelling stories that stem from the myriad of signature sports properties in t he NB C Sport s Grou p portfolio.

This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba. 

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