IAAF enters partnership with EBU and ESPN

Companies to distribute athletics media rights across Europe and Africa.

IAAF enters partnership with EBU and ESPN

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has reached a multi-year agreement with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and ESPN Media Distribution.

The deal, which takes effect from 1st January 2018, will see the two companies sell and distribute media rights across Europe and Africa for the governing body’s flagship events. The contract includes the next three editions of the IAAF World Championships and IAAF World Indoor Championships, along with more competitions from the IAAF World Athletics Series.

The EBU will distribute free-to-air television rights across Europe, while ESPN will represent both the free-to-air and pay-TV media rights throughout Africa. The pair will also collaborate to manage the rights for pay television, digital media and additional free-to-air opportunities in Europe.

The agreement represents the second time that the EBU and ESPN have worked together, following their partnership last year to manage the rights for the International Swimming Federation (Fina). The EBU has been working with the IAAF since 1983, and has held the exclusive media rights in Europe and Africa for the past four years.

Olivier Gers, chief executive of the IAAF, said: “This new broadcasting agreement with two of the principal players in the broadcasting world will be a step forward in the IAAF’s strategy to engage young people and bring the spectacle of the sport and the amazing athlete stories to the millions of fans across Africa and Europe in the mobile and flexible formats they want. The increased use of streaming, supplementing traditional broadcasts on a variety of platforms, will allow the IAAF’s top events to reach as wide an audience as possible.”

Charly Classen, vice president and general manager of ESPN Media Distribution, said: “IAAF Athletics is a fantastic, globally relevant sports property with an incredibly exciting opportunity in front of it. Working with the IAAF and EBU we’re very excited to help grow the sport and further broaden the appeal of its competitions, make the most of both traditional and emerging media platforms and help build the next generation of athletics fans.”

Stefan Kürten, director of EBU Sport, added: “We are delighted to be able to continue our partnership with IAAF to bring athletics to the widest possible audience, guaranteeing free-to-air coverage of these premium events in key territories such as Germany, France and Italy. Working with ESPN gives us a unique opportunity to increase the reach and engagement of this popular sport, maximising traditional distribution while embracing the digital consumer.”