Renewed media rights agreement guarantees bright biathlon future
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) and Eurovision Sport have renewed their significant media rights agreement for the period 2022-26 with an option for both sides to prolong for another four years. The record deal, which guarantees Eurovision Sport exclusive rights, will provide the federation with substantial opportunities for reinvestment into the future of the sport.
The agreement guarantees continued free-to-air coverage of elite world biathlon competitions to a worldwide audience on multiple platforms. Eurovision Sport and its rights-holding Members will broadcast and produce more than 150 biathlon events in the period 2022-2026. Events will include the IBU World Championships Biathlon, IBU World Cup Biathlon, the IBU Open European Championships, the IBU Youth and Junior World Championships, and a livestream for the IBU Cup.
IBU President Olle Dahlin said: “We are thrilled to renew our longstanding partnership with Eurovision Sport. The agreement reflects the popularity of biathlon in Europe and around the world and the huge appetite there is to watch our events. The significant revenue increase will guarantee that our sport, our athletes, our National Federations and our Organizing Committees can develop according to the objectives set out in our strategic plan, Target 26.”
Jiri Hamza, First Vice-President of the IBU, said: “This is a great day for the biathlon family and for our broadcasting partners. Due to its exposure on public free-to-air channels, biathlon has grown to be the leading winter sport in many countries. Through our renewed partnership with Eurovision Sport, biathlon will grow and develop even further.”
Among the five key targets set out by the IBU in Target 26 are “extend its reach” and “innovate its future”. Both targets are addressed in the new media rights agreement through minimum live broadcast commitments and a special outreach plan to territories currently without biathlon coverage. Through the new contract, the IBU and its stakeholders will also be able to provide its fans worldwide with live, near-to-live and behind the scenes footage catered to their interests.
Stefan Kuerten, Executive Director Eurovision Sport, said: “It is truly breath-taking to see the outstanding development of biathlon in free-to-all media over the last decades. We are proud to be the IBU`s media partner since the very beginning. The reason for the success is the mutual commitment to our partnership and our common goal to reach the widest audience possible.”
Robert Portman, Head of Winter Sport at Eurovision Sport, said: “Biathlon has become the number one Winter sport and we are extremely delighted to work with the IBU long into the future. We have agreed to closely work to continuously improve the product. We are confident that together, we will score great successes in the coming years.”
Early viewing figures from the first competition days of the IBU World Championships Biathlon, presently under way in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy, are highly encouraging, with a total of 48 million hours of action viewed across nine key markets: Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, Slovenia and Sweden. Meanwhile, average audiences in the nine countries are up by 5.2 per cent compared with the first four days of last year’s IBU World Championships.