European Championships success shows strength of public service media says EBU

The European Championships has proved a big hit with TV audiences, with viewers in ten key European markets tuning in for a total of over 567 million hours.

The EBU and its members’ approach to the multi-sports event paid dividends with extensive programming offering audiences the best coverage of all the sporting action across television, radio and digital platforms for around 10 hours a day. In total, 44 free-to-air broadcasters and partners across Europe and worldwide covered the event.

Audiences rocketed across the ten days of televised competition with the top average audience across the ten countries totalling 20 million viewers on the closing Sunday. In Norway, for example, NRK achieved an 80% market share for the conclusion of the 1500 and 400m hurdles while the event as a whole reached 68% of Norwegians.

The broadcasters for the host countries have reported impressive results with audiences really engaged by the multi-sport concept.

In Germany, ARD/ZDF reported over 43 million viewers watched at least one broadcast from the Championships. The athletics, broadcast live from Berlin, proved particularly popular with over five million tuning in to ARD for the finals on the Sunday, while the women’s 4x100m relay reached a five-minute peak of over 6 six million on ZDF.

In the UK, the BBC reported a peak audience of 6.4 million with an overall reach of 20 million. They also received 2.9 million online programme requests.

In comparison to previous individual European Championships, some of the smaller sports have seen their viewing figures soar. In Germany, sports like triathlon, rowing and golf saw large audiences across the event while Poland tripled the audience for rowing compared to the 2017 Championships.

ARD Sports co-ordinator Axel Balkausky said: “We have reached more viewers than we thought possible. The market share of the individual sports have almost doubled compared to single transmissions.”

Ron Chakraborty, BBC lead executive, said: “The European Championships created a lot of buzz. You couldn’t really miss it across the BBC. As a result, it has created far more press and publicity and put a much bigger spotlight on the events than had we just been sharing individual sports.”

Stefan Kürten, director EBU Sport, said: “The EBU and its members are the leading broadcast partners for the success of multi-sports events in Europe. Together with our members and other stakeholders – including the participating sports federations, host cities and ECM – we have been fully committed to the concept of the European Championships from the outset as we were convinced that a further loss of relevance for European Olympic sports had to be avoided.

“Only the combined power of Europe’s public service broadcasters, driven by the EBU, could have brought this innovative event from vision to reality and we are delighted by its success.”


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