BT Sport beats Sky to AC35 coverage
AMERICA’S CUP: BT Sport has beaten Sky to get the live television rights to broadcast the UK and Ireland America’s Cup races and highlights of the 2017 America’s Cup.
Beginning with the opening races of the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) in Portsmouth on July 25 and 26, BT Sport will offer live coverage of all America’s Cup racing to viewers in the UK and Ireland through to the finals in 2017.
The BBC will carry America’s Cup highlights after acquiring free-to-air broadcast rights for the event.
Highlights from the 2015-16 America’s Cup World Series – including the Portsmouth events – as well as the 2017 America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs and America’s Cup Finals, are included in the BBC agreement for free-to-air broadcast.
With Sir Ben Ainslie leading the UK challenge for the 2017 AC35, the excitement level for this series is likely to be huge.
We understand Sir Keith Mills, one of the top names in the campaign backing Ben Ainslie to win AC35, was highly instrumental in obtaining the AC35 rights.
Other top names behind Mr Ainslie include the Carphone Warehouse co-founder, Sir Charles Dunstone, Oakely Capital’s (and North Sails’) Peter Dubens and Ian Taylor, boss of oil giant Vitol.
Among the sponsors backing Mr Ainslie are Siemens, KPMG and BAE Systems, with help from Red Bull Racing
“Our partnership with BT Sport as our live coverage broadcaster and the BBC for highlights programming means we have an opportunity to reach millions of sailing fans in the UK and Ireland and engage them in the new America’s Cup, which is more dynamic, athletic and spectacular than ever before,” said Harvey Schiller, the commercial commissioner of the America’s Cup.
Under the agreements, BT Sport will broadcast all live stages of the 2015-16 America’s Cup World Series events, being hosted in Portsmouth in July 2015 and again in July 2016, and continuing with events around the world.
The BBC will have highlight programming from the World Series events.
Sir Keith Mills said: “The America’s Cup World Series event taking place in Portsmouth this July will be the first time a British team will compete in an official America’s Cup event in British waters since 1851.
“This is going to be an historic occasion where we expect up to 500,000 people attending the event and, with BT Sport’s support as the exclusively live broadcaster and the BBC showing highlight programming, many millions more will be engaged on TV and online.“
Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, commented: “The BBC is delighted to be able to offer viewers highlights programming for the next two and a half years of America’s Cup racing.
“We’ve followed Sir Ben Ainslie throughout his brilliant Olympic career and covered his remarkable contribution to the dramatic America’s Cup climax two years ago, so we’re delighted to bring the latest chapter in his career to a wide audience of existing fans and newcomers.”
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