The Power8 Sprints event is being launched in a bid to grow the sport ©British Rowing

British Rowing have launched a new competition entitled Power8 Sprints, which will headline the annual Bristol Harbour Festival on July 22.

The concept will see men's and women's teams from eight British cities - Bristol, Cambridge, Exeter, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford - compete in head-to-head races over a distance of 350 metres.

The city-based teams will be formed from top club rowers from across the country with each crew racing in its unique colour and branding, which British Rowing believes will allow fans to identify more with their team.

The shorter race distance, in comparison to traditional 2,000m regattas, will allow spectators to watch the entire race from the same spot, meaning they will not miss a second of the action.

British Rowing have also said that specialist technology will be used during the races to bring fans closer to the action on the water.

The competition is part of British Rowing's strategy to help grow and develop the sport by introducing new events.

It is hoped the concept will hand British Rowing a boost ©Getty Images
It is hoped the concept will hand British Rowing a boost ©Getty Images

British Rowing chief executive Andy Parkison has high hopes for the new format.

"This is another hugely exciting moment for rowing in England," he said.

"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.

"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."

There are plans to make the Power8 Sprints competition a three-event sprint series in 2019, following its debut in Bristol this summer.