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Boat Race returns to BBC in 2010

Boat Race returns to the BBC

Live coverage of the Oxford versus Cambridge University Boat Race will return to the BBC in 2010 after a six-year absence.

A new five-year-deal means that the BBC will broadcast the event on television and radio as well as the BBC Sport website, BBC iPlayer and BBC World.

The race is one of Britain's top five televised sporting events - alongside events such as the FA Cup final.

This year's race, which will be shown on ITV, takes place on Sunday 29 March.

Since 1998, the Boat Race has no longer been protected by government rules where major sporting events remain ring-fenced against non-terrestrial networks.

The BBC's association with the 180-year-old race began in 1927 when it was first broadcast on the radio.

And the BBC's director of sport Roger Mosey said the corporation were delighted to have it back.

Speaking on Five Live he said: "Everyone knows ITV are going through tough times in this climate and the boat race does cost quite a lot to produce.

"You've got to have helicopters, and cameras out on the water so ITV walked away from it and we were really pleased to have it back.


"It still has a huge audience, last year on ITV it still had between seven and eight million, and that is a huge audience in sports terms.

"Many other sports that are supposedly more popular actually get many, many fewer viewers than that."

The race pits teams from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge against each other on the Putney to Mortlake stretch of the Thames - a distance of four miles, 374 yards.

The event is shown in 113 countries around the world and viewing figures peaked during its last appearance on the BBC in 2004 when 8.9m people tuned in to watch Cambridge take victory.

In March 2008, Oxford won the 154th University Boat Race, their third win in four years although Cambridge still narrowly lead the total number of races held - by 79 to 74.

see also
ITV drops Boat Race for football
09 Dec 08 |  Entertainment
Olympians picked in Oxford crew
04 Mar 09 |  Rowing
Students get tough on the Thames
17 Dec 08 |  Other sport...
In photos - Cambridge win Boat Race
07 Apr 07 |  Photo Galleries

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