By Lydia Wheeler
Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania, ahoy. Norfolk nautical events are coming to your TVs.
Nautical Channel, an international 24/7 nautical sports and lifestyle channel based in Italy, plans to cover Norfolk events and televise them worldwide in five languages.
In Norfolk, Mayor Paul Fraim said aired events will run the gamut from races and boat shows to festivals like OpSail 2012.
“Anything water-related,” he said. “We think we are a great location for them.”
Since its Dec. 5, 2011, launch, the network has gained 20 million subscribers throughout 37 countries, according to its website. A few weeks after meeting with Laurence Hopper, CEO of the station currently available on Dish Network, Fraim sent a letter to Gary McCollum, vice president and regional manager of Cox Communications, urging the network to make the channel available locally on the Cox Cable system.
“We would like to promote the Norfolk/Newport News/Virginia Beach area worldwide through Nautical Channel, but we would also like to have the channel available locally on Cox Cable so that the nautical sports and lifestyle can be reached by all Chesapeake Bay-area households,” he wrote in the letter dated March 18. “Cox Cable doesn’t have any sports channel that even comes close to covering local and international nautical sports and lifestyle.”
Though Hopper discussed opening a network office in Norfolk, Fraim said no commitments have been made. “We are in the middle of the East Coast and have a lot of exciting nautical events here,” he said, “and with the presence of NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and the Navy, we’re right in the middle of what they think is important.”