The EBU and the International Biathlon Union (IBU) have signed a partnership agreement which covers four further biathlon seasons, from 2018/19 until 2021/22 included, extending the current agreement which is due to expire in 2018. The new contract will extend a 23-year partnership dating back to 1993, when the IBU was founded.
During the term of the agreement, the EBU and its rights-holding members will have access to a minimum of 36 World Cups with more than 220 races, to three World Championships with 33 races, and to various other IBU events. This will guarantee free-to-air coverage of elite world biathlon competitions to a worldwide audience on multiple platforms, all in all more than 350 hours of live TV content during the term. The contract includes extensive production, transmission guarantees, various contract management, project coordination and implementation services, as well as cooperation in the field of digital media.
Biathlon has grown faster in Europe than any other Olympic sport during the last couple of decades, mainly due to the centralized management of all its rights, the constant evaluation and changes in competition formats to adapt to the needs of modern media, and the firm focus on free-to-air distribution, which maximizes the broadcast and commercial value of the sport.
On the occasion of the signing of the agreement, IBU President, Anders Besseberg, said: “Today it is not enough for a sport to be on TV – today you must also be on the right TV channel and also have a product which the hundreds of millions of TV viewers want to see. Over more than 20 years the IBU and the EBU have jointly been able to develop biathlon into one of the most popular winter sports on TV in Europe. We are therefore very pleased to have the EBU as our TV partner in the period 2018-2022. We are looking forward to further developing our sport together with EBU and making biathlon even more accessible to new groups of fans.”
EBU Director of Eurovision Services & Sports Rights, Stefan Kuerten, added: “We are pleased and proud to prolong our excellent cooperation with the IBU, which often serves as a template for other sports federations. Our multiple-services approach fits perfectly to the needs of the IBU, which delivers top, professional-class events to the rights holders. We are also pleased to share a long-term view of such developments. The result is for all to see. With our long term partner, the IBU, we are all aiming to build on our success and further strengthen the partnership with our biathlon friends.”