Invictus Games hits harder than ever with ramped up global coverage for rights holders on International Sports Broadcasting’s watch

In previous years only three or four broadcasters took the rights to the Invictus Games, but this year there is practically global coverage of the Games thanks to ISB’s efforts as host broadcaster and head of global distribution rights

This year, the Invictus Games will be seen on television by more people than ever before as International Sports Broadcasting (ISB), the Madrid based company headed up by Ursula Romero, takes up the reigns as host broadcaster for the Invictus Games for the first time.

The foundation started out in 2014 by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and this year the Games are being held in Germany for the first time. The German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and the City of Düsseldorf are jointly hosting the 6th iteration of this unique international sports festival, which takes place from 9 to 16 September 2023.

The goal of the Games is to give soldiers who are wounded, injured or ill in body and soul a greater awareness and recognition in society and to support their path in rehabilitation. Around 500 competitors from 21 nations competing in ten disciplines, as well as around 1,000 family members and friends, have descended on Düsseldorf to celebrate the unconquered human spirit, and shine a spotlight on these men and women who served.

Invictus Games Park: Merkur Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf is the main arena for the Invictus Games 2023, which hosts all the indoor and team sports in a specially curated area. All the way around the Merkur Spiel-Arena in the surrounding grounds, the athletics, archery, swimming, and cycling are taking place

Rights holder bonanza

This Games makes for spectacular TV in terms of the competitions and the stories behind the athletes taking part. However, German armed forces Bundeswehr were not properly equipped to manage distribution rights for the Games, so ISB stepped into help offer those rights, for free to all takers.

In previous years only three or four broadcasters took the rights to this event, but this year there is practically global coverage of the Games with 28 rights holding broadcasters, thanks to ISB’s efforts, with content providers including the BBC – which is taking everything live – CBC Sports in Canada, DAZN, and others in Germany, France and more taking both live and highlights content.

In line with the ethics of the foundation, all the rights have been offered for free to maximise the number of viewers globally. Comments David Taunton, head of production at ISB: “The decision from IG23, which is German, has always been about non-exclusivity. So if you want to pick it up, that’s fine, but it won’t be exclusive rights, which I think is the way, if you want to get for the event – as Greg [Breakell, ISB director for the Games] always says – “more eyeballs on it”. I’m fairly confident these might be one of the most viewed Invictus Games. I don’t have numbers to support that claim [at this point], but we’re very happy that we have coverage pretty much from all over the world.”

Taunton adds: “So we are now dealing with a problem – which is a good problem to have – but we’re dealing with having to distribute to various countries live, which is really great. I feel this will be one of the most viewed Invictus Games to date.”

Additionally, all the content from the Games can be watched for free on Invictus Games TV 23, or IGTV 23. “You’ll see the live sport, you’ll also see live studio segments,” says Taunton. “And in these studio segments is also where we want to bring these athletes or team leaders or family members or people who work the games in, so in those moments they can tell their stories or give us a little more insight.”

Storytelling focus

In its broadcast the Invictus Games has a strong focus on telling the stories of the competitors, as well as covering the sport. Greg Breakell, the ISB director who is bringing the images of the Games to viewers around the world this year, explains: “What’s different from the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships and the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships [that ISB was host broadcaster of earlier this year] is before we were only discussing athletics and swimming; now we’ve got multiple other sports, which does pose challenges, particularly if you’re thinking about, for example, seated volleyball; it’s a lot of people sitting on a floor.

“So yes, of course we will be wide enough to see coverage, but we want to be making sure that we get lenses into positions that we can see the faces of all the athletes and their characters.

“One thing that’s very different about the Invictus Games is it is more of a sense of ‘one’; that we are competing against, but more with each other, there’s more camaraderie,” continues Breakell: “So one of the important things for us to make sure to capture is not just the competition, but the relationships and the respect that these athletes have for each other, and particularly keeping in mind the background they’re coming from.

“Coming from military and service lives, which is all about ‘team’ and being one and family on the same path, the same goals, we’re very aware that it’s actually much more about the story than who wins a given event. So yeah, it’s a competition, but there’s a lot more going on than even say a normal games, be it an Olympics, Commonwealth or Asian games, whatever it might be,” Breakell states.

Taunton adds it is about creating a balance between how the athletes got to the Games, and what they achieve on the day as well: “It is still a sporting event, but we also want to showcase the work that these athletes put into being able to do what they’re going to be doing. I mean, there’s power lifting, there’s cycling, there’s archery, athletics.

“Yes, it is a Games in which I don’t think it’s so much about the winning, but we do want to put that coverage and our expertise on sports coverage in to give them their moment,” continues Taunton. “They’ve been training for this, and we also want to showcase the effort that they put into preparing mentally and physically, because it is six days of sport that’ll take a toll on people, for sure.”

As to how ISB is capturing all the content, for the stories ‘on the fly’ style coverage, it has five ENG teams on the ground working with three producers. Prior to the Games, ISB, “already started to get in touch with team leaders from different participating countries, doing some research beforehand on athletes who are going to be there and getting those stories, which is going to be great,” says Taunton.

“The Invictus Games has, in this event particular, the ‘family lounge’ [which is officially called the] Home of Nations in the stadium. This is where all the families are going to get together, where athletes will get together, all the different countries will get together. It is a chance for us to be able to chat with specific athletes and tell us the stories and put these stories together.”

Taunton continues: “What we have been keen on doing is approaching [the athletes] beforehand out of respect. Some people will want to speak and some won’t. We will find stories as the Games go on, but we have tried to prepare and already look ahead to potential stories. I must say that it’s great to read emails back from team leaders who are very much looking forward to having a sit down or saying, “oh yes, so-and-so would definitely be able to and does want to share”, because I think those will be very beautiful moments.

“We’re going to showcase these stories in our daily highlight shows, because we’re producing a daily 26 minute show [each day] on an athlete in particular, and also the story behind [their journey to the Games].”

Making the world feed

Merkur Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf is the main arena, which hosts all the indoor and team sports in a specially curated area. It offers space for 54,600 spectators. All the way around the Merkur Spiel-Arena in the surrounding grounds, the athletics, archery, swimming, and cycling are taking place, at the most just an eight minute walk away from the main arena.

Taunton notes on kit: “We’re bringing in all the toys. We’re taking this sports coverage very seriously and using equipment as much as possible to capture that. There will definitely be some special moments.

“We’ll have underwater cameras, super slow motion cameras, and an Agito remote controlled camera; we’ll have that going from sport to sport, which is new for this year. We have tracking camera at the swimming pool. And we have a sky jib for the main arena, for the main stage, which is also a first.”

Presenters on the world feed are Jonathan Edwards, Layne Redman and Eloise Cupdio.

From the director’s perspective, Breakell notes his task is, “very similar to the Paris sports that we’ve been covering,” referring to the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships, which took place from 8 to 17 July in Paris. “So this is why the Agito addition, is great as it’s low to the ground. So for people [taking part in a] seated event or if they’re in a wheelchair, we want to be in their face with nice close ups.

“The same goes for the steady cam; we will rig it low as opposed to high, which is the normal rigging. So again, trying to get intimate and close up with the stories and the athletes in that regard.”

ISB is also producing a documentary around the Games, which will consist of a series of interviews with athletes, intertwined with their search for their sense of being, growth, and how, “it might be a little seed that starts this feeling of having to grow again and become who they actually become,” Taunton explains.

He concludes: “We will be producing that during the Games. We’ll have a team dedicated to the production of this documentary and we look forward to sharing that also with the world.”

Rights holding broadcasters for the Invictus Games 2023

Edge Sport

PA Media


France media

Antenna 1



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