c Dan Vernon for World Athletics
In Europe and elsewhere, a large audience followed the 2022 World Indoor Athletics Championships, which took place in Belgrade last weekend. This edition was the first to be held since 2018, due to postponements linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Twenty-five EBU Members broadcast the championships, which featured high-level, hotly contested events crowned by three world records on the final day.
These World Athletics Championships were also the first open to the public since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. A total of more than 20,000 sports fans were able to follow the three days of competition on site, despite the gauge imposed for sanitary reasons.
Public enthusiasm was also reflected in television audience figures. The number of hours viewed live in the main markets* increased by 9% compared to 2018. For EBU Members, the audience share reached 33% for YLE in Finland, 34 % for NRK in Norway and 28% for RTS in Serbia, where a large number of viewers were able to watch Ivana Spanovic-Vuleta win the gold medal in the women’s long jump event on the last evening.
UA:PBC was among the EBU Members broadcasting the competition. The Ukrainian public service media has indeed been able, thanks to the EBU, which coordinated the aid and worked in collaboration with other Members, to maintain broadcasts and maintain contact with the Ukrainian population, despite the enormous difficulties and risks posed by the Russian invasion.
For Jon Ridgeon, managing director of World Athletics,
“The excellent viewing figures for the World Indoor Championships in Athletics reflect the exceptional performances and the fantastic competitive spirit that prevails in our sport. Our fans are eagerly awaiting the return of major stadium athletics events and this year , their expectations will be fulfilled.
Belgrade has indeed served as the springboard for an outdoor season that will include four major athletics championships in the space of six weeks, starting with the Oregon22 World Championships, then the Junior World Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia (August 1-6), the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (August 2-7), and finally the European Multisport Championships in Munich, Germany (August 15-21).
I thank our partners at the EBU and European broadcasters, who play a vital role in bringing our sport and our athletes to the public.”
Andreas Aristodemou, Head of Summer Sports at Eurovision Sport, adds:
“Early audience figures from some major European markets show the interest in top-level athletics competitions. This interest was already evident in the number of European broadcasters covering the Belgrade 2022 World Championships, which exceeded that Birmingham 2018 World Championships, as he went from 21 to 29.”
EBU Members who covered the championships include: ARD (Germany); RTBF and VRT (Belgium); BTRC (Belarus); CYBC (Cyprus); HRT (Croatia); DKTV2 (Denmark); TVE (Spain); EEERR (Estonia); YLE (Finland); ERT (Greece); MTVA (Hungary); RUV (Iceland); RAI (Italy); NRK (Norway); NOS (Netherlands); TVP (Poland); RTP (Portugal); CT (Czech Republic); BBC (UK); RTS (Serbia); SKRTV (Slovakia); RTVSLO (Slovenia); SSR (Switzerland); AU: PBC (Ukraine).
In addition, Eurovision Sport and ESPN (who jointly own the media rights to the World Championships in Athletics in Europe and Africa until 2023) have distributed footage of the competition to the following broadcasters: TV Arena Sport (Bosnia, Croatia , Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia); Athlé TV (France); The Sports Channel (Israel) and TV4 (Sweden).
The World Indoor Championships in Athletics marked the first milestone of a season that will continue with the Oregon22 World Championships in Athletics also enjoying extensive coverage by EBU Members.
In November 2021, the EBU and World Athletics renewed their long-standing media rights agreement, extending and expanding their partnership to all events featured in the World Elite Athletics Series.
The new contract, which covers the period 2024-2029, encompasses European and African rights on all existing and future platforms, via all distribution methods (even if the majority of the coverage will be free-to-air), as well as the rights non-exclusive radio.
*Excluding the national broadcasters of the two editions (the RTS and the BBC) and on the basis of the eleven markets (Belgium-Flemish Region, Belgium-Walloon Region, Spain, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden) who have provided their figures for Belgrade 2022 so far. The number of hours viewed live has increased from 25.1 million to 27.3 million.