BBC wins back Boat Race

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UK public service broadcaster the BBC has signed a five–year deal to host the UK's Oxford/Cambridge University Boat Race, bringing the event back to the broadcaster for the first time since 2004.

The deal, which will commence in 2010, will give the BBC full UK media rights, allowing the event to be broadcast on the BBC Sport website, BBC iPlayer, BBC World News and BBC America. Commercial channel ITV has broadcast the event for the past four years and will again this year's 155th race on 29 March. But the broadcaster recently announced it would not be looking to renew its contract past 2009 due to financial considerations. BBC director of sport Roger Mosey said: " The Boat Race is one the many landmarks of the sporting year and it's a national event enjoyed by many millions. We're extremely pleased that it's coming back to the BBC alongside other great British occasions such as Wimbledon, the Grand National and the London Marathon. Boat Racing Company chairman Giles Vardley said organisers were " extremely pleased" to have secured a long term agreement with the BBC. " " We expect [this] will mean even greater profile for the Race across the corporation's multimedia networks, " he said. The Boat Race, also known as the University Boat Race and The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, is a rowing race in England between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club. It is rowed annually each spring on the Thames in London. The event is a popular one, not only with the alumni of the universities, but also with rowers in general and the public. An estimated quarter of a million people watch the race live from the banks of the river, around 7m–9m people on TV in the UK, and an overseas audience estimated by the Boat Race Company of around 120m. The first race was in 1829 and it has been held annually since 1856, with the exception of the two world wars. Members of both teams are traditionally known as blues and each boat as a 'Blue Boat', with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue.

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