Eurovision Sport helps bring international biathlon series to the world
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) and the EBU have worked together for more than 25 years to grow and nurture the sport of biathlon on public service media.
Over the years, audiences have continued to grow in both traditional and new territories and the sport has moved from a niche interest to a central part of winter sports for millions.
This season, there has been a total of over 300 million hours viewed of the first six IBU World Cup events. That is an increase of 5% on last season and 12% on the 2015/2016 season, with 90% of the viewing live.
There has also been new record market shares for live broadcasts in various territories including an 81% share for NRK1 (Norway) for the Men’s Pursuit in Pokljuka, a 73% share for YLE 2 (Finland) for the Men’s Pursuit in Antholz and a 72% share for SVT1 (Sweden) for Ruphoplding.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to develop biathlon and increase the profile of winter sports globally” said Eurovision Sport executive director, Stefan Kürten. “Through our worldwide sports rights sales, we have also seen a healthy appetite in new territories such as China where we have actively worked to grow the market for winter sports.”
This year’s World Championships in Östersund, Sweden (7-17 March 2019), will see broadcasters bringing the sport to fresh audiences on multiple platforms.
17 EBU Members will be showing the event free-to-all in their respective territories (Austria, Belorussia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia). This will be complemented by broadcasters in France and Poland together with Eurosport offering pan-European visibility. Beyond Europe, specific agreements are in place with SBS (Korea), CCTV (China) and, for the first time, NBC (USA).
To ensure that relevant content is always delivered to the right audiences at the right time and on the right channel, Eurovision Sport will be working with the EBU’s new business subsidiary, Eurovision Services, to provide a multi-outlet content production, enrichment and distribution service.
In addition to the traditional satellite and fibre distribution services made available over the Eurovision Global Network, rightsholding broadcasters and partners will also be able to access available content within seconds using the Eurovision Near-Live Clipping & Web Publishing platform. This tool enables users to maximise the reach of their content online by creating captivating clips, emotions, exclusive interviews and/or highlights packages, and then publishing them with one click on websites, Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms, and social media channels.
In addition, innovative new formats that are more viewer-friendly will actively take the sport to non-traditional markets. These include a fully immersive VR app and video content creation solutions to enrich viewers’ second-screen experiences.
EBU Member SVT will be acting as host broadcaster for this year’s Championships. Building on the previous success of their remote production services, they will continue to increase and refine their facilities at Östersund. They will be implementing immersive production using four cameras with 180° or 360° views in key areas like the start/finish line and the shooting range.
IBU president Olle Dahlin said: “This long-standing partnership with Eurovision Sport and its members has been one of the cornerstones of the success of our sport. The World Championships in Ostersund are an important step in taking the sport to a new era in which more people around the world will enjoy the very best of biathlon.”