IBU President Olle Dahlin opened the meeting with an overview of the significant progress that has been made and commended the National Federations for the invaluable role they have played in advancing the sport around the world. He said that the IBU is ahead of schedule with the Target 26 strategic plan.
IBU Secretary General Max Cobb presented the IBU Executive Board members, thanking them for their leadership that has put the organization in such a strong position. He delivered a presentation on the previous season’s financials and the information the IBU has gathered from National Federations through its regional workshops and online surveys. This information will guide the plans to ensure the IBU achieves its 2030 business objectives. A 15-month action plan will also be implemented to respond to the key challenges identified by the National Federations while defining an extended Target 2030 plan.
The meeting featured a number of keynotes and interactive panel discussions to encourage debate around the IBU’s overall objectives. Glen Killane, Executive Director of Eurovision Sport, European Broadcasting Union, delivered a keynote on the future of sports broadcasting and how streaming continues to grow, replacing linear consumption. He spoke of how biathlon is one of Eurovision’s most important properties and the reach the EBU has is there to better tell the stories of the athletes to engage new fans. He particularly wants to see biathlon become a global sport and called on the NF leaders to help build connections with their domestic broadcasters.
Benjamin Boldt presented on best practice in promoting sport and content usage across all channels of Red Bull Media Brand Network. Boldt explained how Red Bull Media can work along with the big rights holders to enhance the storytelling and produce timeless content to generate the greatest reach; noting that entertaining and emotion-led social media content is the most effective way of reaching young target groups.
Dr. Marc Olefs, Head of climate research, Geosphere Austria, looked at sustainability and winter sports and the role sports organisations can play. Dr Olefs emphasised the urgent need for climate action today with only 30 years left before two degrees warming will diminish snow. Dr Olefs explained that adaption measures and mitigation measures must be taken simultaneously to maximise impact. Several NF leaders engaged with questions and reiterated the need for the biathlon community to work together with national governments for proper climate action.
Panel discussions followed the three keynotes and drew together National Federation representatives to debate key issues affecting biathlon: attracting more children and young people to the sport; assessing and growing biathlon’s commercial value; and closing the gap to the podium.
Speaking following the Presidents’ Meeting, IBU President Olle Dahlin said:
Today’s sessions have been an important chance to share information and to take stock of where we are as a sport and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead of us. We should all be inspired by what we have achieved so far. And motivated to now go back to work and grow our sport even further.
Biathlon relies on each of its National Federations to grow the sport in their countries. We have ambitious targets we want to achieve by 2030 and we will need the collaboration of everyone in the biathlon family if we are to achieve them.
The meeting ended with three parallel workshops each of which was held twice to allow delegates to attend two sessions. The themes of the workshops were: using the IBU Academy; the road to success through status, goals and strategies; and digital content, reach and viewership.