Let’s face it, some sports have a wider reach and garner more audience than others. Sporting events like Athletics, Swimming, and Gymnastics have narrower appeal than Soccer or Baseball, and only caters to a niche of people, most of whom are involved in them directly. This is one of the major reason why such individual sporting events are broadcasted under a common umbrella, i.e. Olympics or Commonwealth games. The European Championships, previously hosted at different times and venues for different sports, have clustered their events under one umbrella – the European Sports Championships. The inaugural edition of the multi-sporting event is set to occur from 2nd August to 12th August in Glasgow, Scotland, and Berlin, Germany.
Otherwise held separately, the championship is set to aggregate a total of seven sporting events. While the Aquatics, Cycling, Gymnastics, Golf, Rowing, and Triathlon events are being hosted in Glasgow, Berlin will witness the European Athletics Championships. The continental governing bodies of these seven events will coordinate their individual events throughout the championship, albeit being staged under one brand and a star-like logo – ‘Mark of a Champion’. Paul Bristow, the co-founder, and director, says, “The key thing is to create something which has much broader appeal than stand-alone championships.” He added, “Most of them lacked any general cut-through with the public. So you transform something which only appeals to dedicated fans of the sport.”
The organizers of the event hope to capitalize on the “broader appeal” by ensuring uninterrupted broadcast of the multi-sporting event. The umbrella body for Europe’s free-to-air channels, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), is poised to be the official broadcast partner. EBU is expected to broadcast more than 3,000 hours of programming, as compared to just 1,500 for the standalone European Athletics Championships hosted in Zurich in 2014. Television viewing figures are also expected to rise by 20% for athletics alone as compared to the traditional single-sport event. According to the organizers, a broader reach will also help in generating larger revenues through Media Rights and advertisement.
The championship will also provide a platform for gay rights activists to demonstrate messages of equality and inclusion. The group ‘Mojo on the Green’ has not only organized a giant inflatable human table soccer game to celebrate Scotland’s LGBT community but will also conduct mobile journalism in a bid to reduce discrimination in sports. Their social media strategy includes sharing the message ‘Sports for All’ along with the usage of #LGBTchampions18 throughout the event.
However, the championship will coincide with the PGA Golf tournament, ensuring a lack of top golfers in the competition. Nonetheless, it will be the focal point for athletics, gymnastics, and swimming, with top European sportsmen battling it out for glory. The cycling event is also expected to receive major attention, clubbing BMX along with track, road and mountain biking.
The next edition of the European Sports Championships will occur in the summer of 2022, and the process of deciding the host venue is currently in progress. Organizers have said that the event might not take-off during its first edition, but will boost the idea of aggregating several European sports under one umbrella. In any case, the European Sports Championships ’18 is set to provide the perfect platform to witness Europe’s top sportsmen in action across the picturesque Glasgow and the multi-cultural Berlin.