Eurovision Sport, the sports arm of the European Broadcasting Union consortium of free-to-air broadcasters, has renewed its long-running global media-rights deal with the International Biathlon Union for four more seasons, with the option of extending for a further four.
The initial four-season agreement will run from 2022-23 to 2025-26 and includes rights to all annual World Cup events. The contract also includes the annual World Championships, and various other IBU events, such as the IBU Cup, Youth World Championships and the European Championships.
The new agreement negotiated between Eurovision Sport and the IBU includes production, transmission guarantees, contract management, project coordination and implementation services.
The IBU has carved out selected clips and highlights for digital use for federations and athletes in order develop fan engagement.
The EBU has held global rights to IBU events since 2002-03, with its current and most-recent deal running from 2018-19 to 2021-22. Since the first agreement was signed, the number of territories in which the World Championship has exposure has close to doubled, and the number of hours viewed has tripled.
News of the renewal comes in the same week that the EBU announced the extension of its rights to the Tour de France and Vuelta a España ‘Grand Tour’ cycling races to 2025.
Stefan Kuerten, the outgoing executive director of sport at the EBU, said: “It’s truly breath-taking to see the outstanding development of biathlon in free-to-all media over the last decades. We are proud to be 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.”
Olle Dahlin, president of the IBU, added: “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 organising committees can develop according to the objectives set out in our strategic plan Target 26.”
The latest agreement was signed at this year’s World Championships in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy.
The EBU has said that average audiences at the World Championships so far in nine key territories – Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, Slovenia and Sweden – are up by 5.2 per cent on the World Championships last year in Östersund, Sweden. The biggest average audiences increased have come from Russia and France, which have increased by 86 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.
At least 18 EBU members will show coverage of the IBU World Championships this year, as well as media group NBC in the US, Polish commercial broadcaster Polsat, French free-to-air digital-terrestrial broadcaster L’Équipe, Russian sports broadcaster Match TV and Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.