The introduction of a new streaming platform will ensure the International Canoe Federation will be able to continue providing world-class coverage of its major events to a global audience, President Thomas Konietzko said.

The ICF streamed live its first international event of the season, a canoe sprint and paracanoe world cup in Hungary, on its new Recast platform. It also showed highlights and selected race replays on its Planet Canoe YouTube channel.

Mr Konietzko said the new combination led to record viewing numbers.

“We are very happy with the number of fans who signed up on our first weekend to support our exciting new viewing option, but we also take their feedback seriously and will take steps to try and simplify the registration process,” Mr Konietzko said.

“Of course with any new venture there will always be teething problems, but we are confident we have a platform that can serve us well into the future. And the more successful this partnership is, the more we will be able to build our coverage for many years to come.

“Presently we are spending more than one quarter of our annual budget on creating a high-quality television production of our major events. It would be difficult for us to sustain that level of funding, which is why Recast is so important to us.

“Our fans and the broader canoeing family have come to expect a certain quality of broadcast from us, and this is the best way we can ensure it not only continues into the future, but also that new technologies can be utilised.”

Viewers from almost 70 countries signed up to watch the ICF World Cup on Recast. The platform offers viewers the option of paying little more than the cost of a cup of coffee to watch an entire weekend of canoeing, or to watch for free by watching advertisements and sharing content.

Race replays and event highlights on YouTube had well above 200,000 views over the weekend, almost doubling the number of people who watched the corresponding world cup last year.

More than 20 broadcasters across four continents also showed either live or delayed racing over the Szeged weekend, a further indication of the growing support paddle sports have around the world in this Olympic qualifying year.

Mr Konietzko said the Recast providers and the ICF will take on board the feedback received from fans over the opening weekend, and will continue to strive to make the best possible viewing experience for all sport lovers.

The ICF and Recast have put together a step-by-step guide to help viewers access and get the best experience from the new platform.

The second ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup will be held in Poznan, Poland, beginning on Friday.