Eurovision Sport is leading the way by extending the reach of winter sports in China. This season, it has expanded the number of events to be aired in the country free-to-air either live or via news and highlights packages which have been specially tailored for the market.
In July 2015, Beijing was elected as the host city for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, kick-starting a major initiative to build a Chinese winter sports spectator fan-base and drive participation. To support this initiative, demand for premium winter sports content on Chinese channels has increased.
This season, CCTV-5 Sports Channel is the official rightsholder for Swiss-Ski live events in Snowboard Park & Pipe & Freestyle, taking place in LAAX, Scuol, Veysonnaz & Silvaplana. The channel reaches a potential audience of 220 million households.
In parallel, Eurovision Sport are making ten of the FIS sanctioned World Cup events hosted by Swiss-Ski - including Wengen, Adelboden, St Moritz and Crans Montana - available to CCTV-5, TenCent (China’s largest social media platform) and the Snow & Ice Channel as news and highlights, with Chinese commentary.
A dedicated Swiss-Ski SINA Weibo social media account is also being instigated to provide the latest race results and information.
CCTV is taking particular interest in Biathlon due to the participation of the Chinese national teams on the World Cup circuit this season. The International Biathlon Union is providing unilateral coverage of Team China through its own TV team as part of market-familiarization for Chinese fans as the country prepares to host an IBU World Cup in 2021, as a test event for the Olympic Winter Games in 2022.
The CCTV coverage includes major Swiss-Ski events throughout March: Scuol, Snowboard and Parallel GS (Men & Women) and Veysonnaz, Snowboardcross (Men & Women).
Stefan Kuerten, Director, Eurovision Sport, believes this is a major step forward: ‘’This is a great opportunity for us to share our winter sports know-how, build on our relationship with CCTV, an associate EBU member, and open winter sports accessibility to Chinese digital platforms. The potential appetite in China is huge and an important area of development for all stakeholders."