Monday, December 8, 2014 7:24 pm
Olympic leaders on Monday gave overwhelming backing to the launch of a worldwide television channel next year in a bid to keep the powerful sports movement in the public eye during the long months between the summer and winter Games.
Estimated to cost about 450 million euros ($550 million) over seven years, the 24-hour Olympic channel will show sports — but not live coverage of the Games — and plunge into the burgeoning interactive market, seeking to appeal to the world’s youth.
The 104-member International Olympic Committee unanimously backed launching the digital channel, which will start on the internet but is expected to start moving into mainstream broadcasting as it builds up content.
The channel, which will be based in Switzerland and Spain, is part of a 40-point reform package launched by IOC president Thomas Bach at a two-day special IOC session in Monaco.
“This is really a historical step for the IOC and the Olympic movement,” said Bach after the vote.
Yianis Exarchos, chef executive of the Olympic Broadcasting System, said a major study had shown that the new channel would provide a “viable platform” to highlight the Olympic movement and athletes outside the 16 days of the Games every two years.
“The Olympic channel would be a major way of engaging youth and hardcore fans in the Olympic movement,” Exarchos told the IOC meeting.
Using mobile phones, tablets and traditional televisions, Exarchos said “the IOC and its partners can communicate, connect and engage with the worldwide Olympic community and its fans.
“Its going to be an always-on global digital platform,” he added, with regional and centrally-organised programmes from the IOC, national Olympic committees and international federations who currently rely on traditional channels for coverage.
The channel will show news, theme programming and events such as qualifying contests for the Olympics and world championships of international federations.
Ser Miang Ng, the IOC member from Singapore and head of a financial working party for the project, said there would be a 446 million-euro cost over seven years.
The IOC would provide 205 million euros, international federations and national Olympic committees would each contribute 72 million euros and there would be 133 million euros in sales and television rights, he said.