Eurovision Sport, EBU Members and international sports federations and rights owners are collaborating to ensure that sport continues to be a focus for social cohesion in the weeks to come, despite the COVID-19 pandemic having forced the cancellation or postponement of major sporting events around the world.
The plans centre around providing engaging and entertaining sports content, such as archive coverage of great sporting moments, discussion programmes and digital coverage of virtual sporting events, as an alternative to Eurovision Sport’s comprehensive slate of live and exclusive international sports coverage.
For example, Eurovision Sport has negotiated with its federation partners to enable EBU Members to gain access to archive footage of top sporting events, including FIFA World Cups, World Athletic s and European Athletics Championships and cycling’s entire Tour de France archive.
Public service media are uniquely placed to reach collaborative agreements with federations and rights-owners on how to continue to serve sports fans, and EBU Members are already finding creative and innovative ways to celebrate sport’s role as a source of strength and inspiration in a time of crisis.
Runar Østmo, Chair of the EBU Sports Committee, said: “At this special and critical time, it is really good to see the initiatives and creativity that both the EBU and each of its Members are delivering to our sports coverage, through storytelling, presentation and innovation. For us, as public-service broadcasters all over Europe, sport is history, tradition and emotions. In this situation – even without live sports – we can still share stories and moments that can be enjoyed over again – while we all stay home and stay safe.”
Stefan Kuerten, Executive Director Eurovision Sport, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting one of the most serious threats to society that most of us will have ever experienced, but these examples show that it is at just such times that the public-service ethic of the EBU and its Members asserts its true and unique value.
“We and our Members are working with our trusted partners to find imaginative ways to continue to serve television viewers, who might be unable to leave their homes because of the crisis, through the power of sport. The EBU-community is, and always will be, there for them and for us all in the bad times as well as the good.”
The Eurovision Sport portfolio was recently augmented by a new, long-term exclusive rights agreement with the International Biathlon Union and extensions of existing rights agreements with road cycling’s Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.
These agreements complement an existing line-up of partnerships with top sports organisations including: FIFA; UEFA; the International Paralympic Committee; World Athletics; European Athletics; the European Championships Munich 2022; the UCI; FINA; FEI; World Rowing; the International Canoe Federation; United World Wrestling; EWF; the FIS; Ski Austria; SwissSki; the UEC; LEN; and the UEG.