The Henley Royal Regatta will be televised live for the first time in its history in 2016 after BT Sport secured the rights to broadcast the world-famous rowing event.
Capitalising on the success of the 2015 event’s broadcast project, which was streamed live worldwide on YouTube, BT Sport will show live coverage of all five days of racing from June 29-July 3, including full live coverage across the weekend.
Henley Royal Regatta is the world’s pre-eminent river regatta and one of the highlights of the social and sporting summer calendar and this year’s event will the biggest in terms of television exposure that the event has ever received.
In total, the pay-TV broadcaster will screen more than 35 hours of live coverage across the five-day regatta, which will be produced by the award-winning sports production firm Sunset+Vine, who are also responsible for BT’s Premier League and Premiership rugby output.
The addition of BT Sport is considered by the regatta’s organisers as a huge step forward for the event and will bring rowing of the highest calibre to screens across the UK.
In 2016, the Regatta has received a record high 629 entrants, with crews entered from Singapore, China, New Zealand, Canada and the USA amongst others.
The Dutch Olympic men’s squad has also sent a contingent to Henley, including their men’s eight who were winners of the World Cup Regatta in Lucerne earlier this month.
Five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave, chairman of Henley Royal Regatta, said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to widen our reach and improve the coverage of the best-known regatta in the world.
“Along with Sunset+Vine, our production partner, we are proud of what we achieved in our first year of broadcasting the Regatta on YouTube, using innovations like drone footage.”
Simon Green, head of BT Sport said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Henley Royal Regatta to BT Sport in its record breaking year and we are looking forward to bringing the excitement of the regatta to our viewers for the first time.”
Andrew Preece, Sunset+Vine’s executive producer on Henley Royal Regatta, commented: “This is the second year of our production partnership with Henley Royal Regatta.
“To have secured a live broadcaster of BT Sport’s stature, so quickly in our association, is great news.
“BT Sport’s commitment to broadcast the entire five-day regatta can only help to further the reputation of this prestigious event to a domestic audience known to embrace rowing when it is available to watch.”
“Our production teams will further enhance the viewing experience with a number of coverage innovations that will also appear in the World Feed we are producing.
“In Michael Cole, Jonathan Edwards [World Feed] and James Hopkins and Rob Levi [BT Sport], we have four of the country’s best leading the coverage.
“We are also pleased that Mark Durden-Smith will anchor the BT Sport coverage. Mark’s personality will bring sporting credibility with a light touch to the programming.”
The Regatta’s own YouTube live worldwide streaming will available to all again this year, alongside BT Sport’s own coverage.
Last year’s event received 297,000 views on the video sharing platform from around the globe and was the first time that full broadcast coverage of the regatta was made available since 1968.
Over 200 races were filmed by 10 cameras along the 2,112m course with the pioneering inclusion of live aerial pictures from a drone camera giving viewers a unique perspective of the action.
BT Sport is available on BT TV, Sky and Virgin Media television platforms in the UK.