European Athletics competitions continue to be highly attractive TV properties with its major events consistently showing viewership increases.
Overall TV audience figures for the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships showed an increase for the third successive championship with a strong increase over Belgrade 2017.
In partnership with Eurovision Sport, the championships were broadcast in 31 countries across Europe – three more than in 2017 – and on 51 different channels, not including the European Athletics live stream; there were 521 total hours broadcast including 433 hours live during the championships itself, with delayed, highlights and simultaneous coverage making up the remaining 88 hours.
Athletics fans across Europe collectively spent 63 million hours watching the three days of action on TV.
The biggest audience not surprisingly came in the host Member Federation, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which had a 27.6 percent increase in the hours viewed over Belgrade 2017 to 17,261,667 hours; the figures no doubt boosted by four victories including a repeat double triumph by Laura Muir in the 1500m and 3000m.
However, athletics clearly has a great following in Poland, which augurs well for the next European Athletics Indoor Championships in the Polish city of Torun in 2021.
More than 11.5 million hours of the championships were watched by athletics aficionados in Poland, no doubt cheering on their compatriots who topped the medal table with six gold medals, a 17.1 percent increase over the viewing figures of two years ago.
Norway – which saw triumphs by Karsten Warholm and Jakob Ingebrigtsen in Glasgow – also saw a big increase in the audience for the championships, a 16.1 percent increase in the hours watched over Belgrade 2017.
Other countries to show significant increases in audience figures during Glasgow 2019 included Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Turkey.
“Firstly, I have to once again congratulate the Glasgow 2019 organisers for producing an excellent championships, which looked magnificent on TV. Secondly, these figures show the that European Athletics major events continue to be an increasingly attractive product for TV audiences and broadcasters,” said European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen.
European Athletics and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) currently have a long-term media rights contract, which began in 1981, through to the end of 2027. This contract was extended for eight years during the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.
The agreement covers the worldwide television and radio rights for European Athletics’ major events from 2020 to 2023 and from 2024 to 2027. This includes the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships, and the subsequent flagship championships of European Athletics in 2022, 2024 and 2026. The 2022 and 2026 European Athletics Championships will be part of a multi-sport championships.
Other events included in the agreement are the European Athletics Indoor Championships, including the 2021 edition in Torun, Poland, the biennial European Athletics Team Championships (Super League and 1st League), the annual SPAR European Cross Country Championships, as well as the European Athletics U23, U20 and U18 Championships.
The renewal also sees services provided from Eurovision Media Services (EMS), the business arm of the EBU. EMS, through its production subsidiary Eurovision Production Coordination (EPC), will act as a Host Broadcaster for key events, including the European Athletics Championships from Paris 2020 through to 2026. The events will be distributed to rights-holding broadcasters over the Eurovision Global Network.
European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen said at the time of the renewal in August 2018, “It is vitally important for its future of athletics that it continues to be showcased and promoted on the biggest platform of all, which is free-to-air television. We believe our long-standing and valued partnership with the EBU ensures that this will remain the case.”
Stefan Kürten, EBU Director of Sport, added, “The EBU is delighted to renew this long-standing relationship with European Athletics, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to the sport and enabling us to continue to offer our unrivalled network of free-to-air broadcasters and partners the very best sporting action. This agreement utilises the full range of EBU services and will also see the EBU and European Athletics build on innovative solutions for a greater digital presence. We have seen our partnership develop and grow over the years and look forward to continuing this exciting relationship to bring athletics alive for the millions of fans worldwide.”