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Were you watching the Thames on 27th March 2016, perhaps on TV? Or did you check to see the outcome of the Boat Races when you got back home after having a life? Perhaps you missed the point that this year's Oxford and Cambridge match-ups threw a lifeline to what might otherwise have become a competition in jeopardy.

It's the best-known rowing event in the entire world, watched live by several hundred million people, so you wouldn't have thought that Boat Race Day is ever in trouble. Organisers of other rowing races from local rivalries to regional regattas would kill for the public renown and potential sponsorship the historic Oxford and Cambridge race-off brings in its wake.

Henry Hoffstot, Cambridge President

But top sporting events funded by sponsorship ride a knife-edge nowadays. Sponsors want something in return, and that something is usually advertising or increased profile. Once they've achieved it, they rarely want to go on giving money. Beefeater Gin, sponsors of the Boat Race for 12 years, used the race's worldwide fame to break into several new markets for their products, but dropped the alliance with rowing once they had done so. Event organisers are always worrying about the next sponsor, while costs steadily increase. Bag a big deal one time and you need to match it with the next one — the financial bar keeps moving ever higher.

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About Row360

Welcome to Row360, the world’s only global, independent rowing magazine. Row360 brings you features from around the world, profiling the best athletes, coaches, and others from the whole rowing community – Olympic, Paralympic, college, club, ocean, and more.