EBU reveals ratings increases across much of Europe for IBU World Championships
More than 130 million live hours from the recent Biathlon World Championships in Östersund, Sweden were consumed on free-to-air networks across Europe, the European Broadcasting Union, the umbrella body of the continent’s public-service broadcasters, revealed today.
The championships ran from 4 to 17 March, with 133.55 million live hours viewed across the competition days, up 6.5 per cent on the 2017 event and 23.1 per cent hours viewed on 2016 (the championships is not held in a winter Olympics year).
The EBU said that through initial data collected across 10 key winter sports European territories - Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden - all regions showed increased ratings.
Some 57.1 million live hours were viewed across German public-service broadcaster’s ARD and ZDF channels, with 9.7 million hours viewed on NRK in Norway, 8.5 million on France L’Equipe and 17.87 million hours viewed in Russia on Match TV and Pervy Kanal channels.
In addition, Sweden’s SVT hit a record average audience (1.3 million) for the World Championships since 2016, with an 80 per cent market share recorded for the women’s relay and the best ratings of the biathlon 2018-19 season for women’s individuals with 2.46 million live hours viewed.
Finland’s YLE posted a record average audience for the IBU World Championships, at 900,000 viewers, up 12 per cent on 2017, while NRK had its best biathlon result of the season with an 81.4 per cent market share for the men’s relay.
In Central and Eastern Europe: Czech Republic’s CT Sport reported a 30.8 per cent market share for the women’s mass start (a biathlon season record); Slovakia’s RTVS had 279,000 viewers for the women’s 10km pursuit live, more than twice the average audience of the 2016 and 2017 World Championships; and Slovenia’s SLO2 had a highest market share of 32.6 per cent for the women’s relay, a 26 per cent increase on the channel’s average market share.
Stefan Kuerten, executive director of the EBU's Eurovision Sport, said: “The IBU World Championships is one of the biggest events in the winter sports calendar and we are proud to be able to offer the excitement and action to such large audiences.
“We greatly enjoy working together with the IBU to grow interest in biathlon, across Europe and in new territories such as China, and the success is shown in the figures. Together with Eurovision Services we have offered many new ways for our EBU members to enhance their coverage and capture the widest possible audience, all contributing to a greatly enhanced offer for audiences.”
Olle Dahlin, president of the IBU, added: “The viewing figures are very impressive and show an unbroken strong upwards trend for biathlon. It has been a spectacular World Championships and we are proud to have engaged fans far and wide in traditional territories and new markets.”