PRESS RELEASE published on 24 Feb 2021

Women’s races help boost number of TV hours viewed at IBU World Championships

Eurovision Sport is delighted to announce a near 7% increase in hours viewed for the 2021 IBU World Championships Biathlon in Pokljuka, Slovenia (160 million) in nine key European biathlon TV markets, compared with the previous year’s event (150 million).

Thanks to close co-operation between Eurovision Sport, EBU Members and the International Biathlon Union, the championships, which ran from 10 to 21 February, were aired in over 50 European territories by a line-up of EBU Members and other broadcasters including Eurosport, plus a selection of other territories worldwide, including USA.

The nine key European biathlon TV markets for which overnight viewing figures have been collated are: Austria (ORF); Czech Republic (CT Sport); Finland (YLE); France (L’Equipe); Germany (ARD & ZDF); Norway (NRK); Russia (Match TV & Pervy Kanal); Slovenia (RTVSLO); and Sweden (SVT).

The figures provide further evidence of the continuing rise of women’s sport, with six of the 11 channels in the nine markets scoring their highest market share with coverage of women’s races at the championships.

Other headline viewing figures include:

  • A majority of the channels achieved increases in both the number of hours viewed and average audiences over last year. Five channels achieved their best average audiences (ORF, L’Equipe, Match TV, RTVSLO, SVT), and four channels their highest number of hours viewed (ORF, L’Equipe, Match TV, RTVSLO), since 2016;
  • In Slovenia, the host country, the average audience over the entire championships increased by nearly 60% over last year’s figure;
  • In Sweden, coverage of the women’s 12.5 km mass start race on 21 February achieved the highest market share of the championships (83.7%), and the best results in all metrics, since 2016;
  • In Germany, ARD scored its highest average audience of the championships (over 5 million) for its coverage of the women’s 10 km pursuit race on 14 February;
  • Coverage of the women’s 4x6 km relay race on 20 February achieved the highest market share of the championships in five markets: Austria (41.3%); Czech Republic (33.9%); Finland (66.1%); Germany (41.8%); and Slovenia (42.8%).
  • In Norway, coverage of the men’s 4x7.5 km relay race on 20 February achieved the highest market share (85%) of the championships, as well as the highest average audience and hours viewed.

Robert Portman, Eurovision Sport’s Head of Winter Sport, said: “It’s great to see the IBU World Championships generating increased TV audiences year after year, and I’m especially pleased that women’s races now score as high – or higher – than men’s races in the ratings.

“With the championships guaranteed long-term free-to-air TV coverage by EBU Members, thanks to last year’s landmark rights renewal with the IBU, we plan to work together to ensure continuing growth for this cornerstone sport in our winter schedules.”

Olle Dahlin, President of the International Biathlon Union, added: “These fantastic viewing figures are great news for the IBU, for our friends at the Organising Committee Pokljuka 2021 and for the entire biathlon community, and they reflect the growing global demand we have seen for biathlon in recent years.

“We have worked in close cooperation with our broadcasters to ensure that, through free-to-air broadcast, as many people around the world as possible can enjoy our biathlon events this season. These record-breaking viewing figures demonstrate that our collective hard work was worth it and that biathlon - and sport in general - can play an important role in helping to bring society together and inspire during these difficult times.”

Last year, Eurovision Sport and the IBU extended their long-running exclusive media rights partnership. The agreement starts next year and runs until 2026, with an option for the IBU and EBU to prolong for another four years.

The agreement guarantees continuing free-to-air coverage of elite world biathlon competitions to a worldwide audience on multiple platforms.

Under the new long-term partnership, the IBU and Eurovision Sport will further develop digital and fan engagement solutions for all IBU events, to increase the sport’s visibility worldwide.

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.

Contact detail

Claire Rainford
Manager of Communications

+41 22 717 2321
rainford@ebu.ch
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