Olympic Channel to include non-Games sports

Olympic Broadcasting Services chief executive Yiannis Exarchos has confirmed that the International Olympic Committee’s new Olympic Channel will feature sports that are not part of the Games’ programme of events.

The IOC last month said that the channel, which will feature live sports broadcasts, highlights, programming, news updates and archive Olympic footage, will launch on August 21, following the closing ceremony of the ongoing Rio 2016 summer Games in Brazil.

The governing bodies of aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, bobsleigh and skeleton, boxing, canoeing, curling, equestrian sports, fencing, golf, gymnastics, hockey, ice hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, rugby union, sailing, shooting, skiing, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling have all committed to collaborate on the channel.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Exarchos (pictured) said non-Olympic sports would also be featured on the platform. “The channel as a space is not restricted to Olympic sports,” he said. “We will provide space to recognised federations, to new sports outside the Games. This is not just to promote Olympic sports.”

Last week the IOC confirmed that baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing would be added to the programme of events for the Tokyo 2020 summer Games. While Exarchos conceded that the IOC has a limit on the number of sports it can include at the Games, he said no such rule will apply for the Olympic Channel.

“We have object limitations (of size) at the Games,” he added. “In the digital world this does not apply so the channel is open to other sports and disciplines.”

The Olympic Channel will be available as a mobile application around the world on Android and iOS devices, and online via olympicchannel.com. The channel hopes to engage young people and new audiences in the Olympic Movement. Dedicated Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube accounts have also been set up.