British Rowing has announced an exciting new sprint rowing event, Power8 Sprints.

The first ever Power8 Sprints event will be held in Bristol on Sunday, 22 July and will be the headline act on the water at the annual Bristol Harbour Festival.

The sprint event will see teams from eight cities – Bristol, Cambridge, Exeter, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford – battle it out, head-to-head over 350m in a bid to be crowned Power8 Sprints champions.

Andy Parkinson, CEO of British Rowing, said: “This is another hugely exciting moment for rowing in England. We hope to bring rowing to sports fans like they’ve never experienced before in the heart of cities across the country. Short, fast, and dramatic, Power8 Sprints will entertain fans and showcase this awesome sport to a broader audience. It’s going to be great to watch for any sports fan.”

The Power8 Sprints event will see men’s and women’s teams racing in eights – the blue riband events at the Olympic Games – with the city teams formed from top club rowers from across the country. It will be high-octane rowing, where technical skill combined with raw power will be critical to crossing the finish line first.

Each city crew will race in a unique and vibrant colour, allowing fans to get behind the team of their choice. Fans will be able to get to know the personalities in the boats through special behind-the-scenes profiles shot in the build-up to and during the event. Specialist technology will also be used during the races to bring fans closer to the action as it unfolds on the water.

In a change from traditional 2,000m rowing regattas, spectators lining the harbourside in Bristol will be able to watch all the action, from the explosion of power off the start line to the glory of crossing the finish line, all from the same spot.

Power8 Sprints is part of British Rowing’s strategy to harness new formats to grow and develop the sport. In its first year, Power8 Sprints will stage one event in Bristol, with plans for it to grow to a three event sprint series in 2019.

Parkinson added: “We’ve been working over the past few years to develop opportunities that will help us to broaden the appeal of rowing and attract a new and more diverse audience. Power8 Sprints is a significant step in our ability to achieve this ambition.”