Athletes in action in the 100m hurdles at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (© Getty Images)
World Athletics and the European Broadcasting Union are delighted to announce that they have extended and enhanced their long-running media rights partnership for all the events in the top-tier World Athletics Series.
The renewed agreement, which covers the flagship biennial World Athletics Championships and World Athletics Indoor Championships, incorporates new developments in digital broadcast technology and will offer ground-breaking opportunities for fans to watch athletics and follow their favourite stars.
The existing contract between World Athletics and the EBU, together with ESPN, began in 2018 and runs until 2023, and this latest renewal marks a 40-year partnership between World Athletics and the EBU.
Starting in 2024 and running until 2029, the new agreement covers European and African rights on all existing and non-existing platforms, via all distribution modes (albeit the vast majority of coverage will be free-to-air), as well as non-exclusive radio rights.
Under the renewed partnership, 29 EBU Members have already been confirmed for World Athletics events over the six-year span of the contract.
The new agreement offers exciting opportunities for digital content distribution, and a joint commitment to create a compelling documentary series about athletics, alongside live broadcasts on free-to-air TV of the World Athletics Championships and World Athletics Indoor Championships.
The agreement is based on four main pillars:
• Storytelling - Athletics and its athletes are the source of powerful and inspiring stories, and the EBU, through its public service members, aims to grow audience engagement and awareness by telling the stories of athletes before, during and after major events, as well as through broader coverage of other events.
• Digital - While securing the already existing audience, the EBU will work with World Athletics and its Members to attract a younger audience and offer innovative coverage opportunities for World Athletics, ensuring that every event will receive coverage in all markets for free.
• Commercial - The reach of public service media’s blanket coverage of World Athletics Series events will facilitate World Athletics’ ambition to achieve commercial and sponsorship growth. The EBU will work alongside World Athletics in order to enhance the impact of commercial opportunities in the context of World Championships.
• Legacy and Sustainability - The EBU wants to help World Athletics to fulfil its Strategic Plan. This will include giving commercial airtime across more than 20 broadcasters to support World Athletics campaigns. A stronger collaboration between World Athletics and public service media ensures an enduring legacy and accessibility to athletics.
In welcoming the agreement, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “We have had a long and fruitful partnership with the EBU and I’m delighted that this has been extended in an enhanced agreement that we believe will be game-changing for our sport.
“This is good news for our athletes and our fans as it will create more opportunities for everyone who loves our sport to watch it regularly, and more easily, and for new fans to fall in love with its undeniable magic. The EBU is ideally placed to help us to grow over the six years of this agreement.”
Noel Curran, the EBU’s Director General, said: “The EBU will be World Athletics’ partner in implementing its Strategic Plan for the growth, inspiration and leadership of the sport.
“In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with a packed, top-class athletics calendar ahead, this is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we believe only public service media are in a position to help develop and exploit fully, across all possible platforms.”