BT Sport, BBC reveal America’s Cup coverage plans
Beginning with the opening races of the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth on July 25 and 26 this summer, 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 highlights programming from the America’s Cup 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.
Excitement for the America’s Cup has never been greater in the UK as Sir Ben Ainslie, the most decorated Olympic sailor in history, heads the British challenge to win the oldest trophy in international sport.
“With Sir Ben Ainslie leading the charge for Britain, and with the first event of the America’s Cup World Series taking place in Portsmouth in July this year, we know the interest level in the UK has never been higher,” said Harvey Schiller, the commercial commissioner of the America’s Cup.
“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. Fans have a choice of watching the live programming or they can catch highlight shows on the BBC. It’s a powerful combination.”
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.
In 2017, the focus will shift to Bermuda, for coverage of the America’s Cup Qualifiers, Challenger Playoffs, and America’s Cup Finals.
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring the story of Sir Ben Ainslie’s quest for the America’s Cup to millions of fans in the UK and Ireland,” said Simon Green, head of BT Sport. “The essence of the America’s Cup is the racing on the water and with exclusively live coverage of all the live stages across all of the BT Sport platforms, viewers will share in the full story from the first races in Portsmouth this summer through to the America’s Cup finals in Bermuda in June 2017.”
Barbara Slater, director BBC Sport, said: “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.”