Olympic Channel takes shape with int’l partnerships

The International Olympic Committee's forthcoming OTT platform is partnering with 27 global sports federations to collaborate on live event and news coverage and original programming. (Pictured: IOC president Thomas Bach)
June 6, 2016

In the lead-up to its launch later this year, the International Olympic Committee-backed Olympic Channel has inked agreements for content collaboration with 27 sports federations.

The new OTT channel – which will be available 24/7 across web, mobile, tablet and other devices - will announce its exact launch date in the coming weeks. It will live alongside rights holders’ coverage of the Olympic Games, which next take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5 to 21.

IOC president Thomas Bach (pictured above) says the forthcoming channel – a key recommendation of the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, announced in December 2014 - will mark a “major shift” in how the Games connect with young viewers.

IOC president Thomas Bach visits the channel's Madrid office.

IOC president Thomas Bach visits the channel’s Madrid office.

“The newly formed Olympic Channel team is making steady progress, with the emphasis on ensuring the product is right and the quality of the programming matches our ambition,” he said in a statement.

The channel is to work with international federations to produce live events, highlights, magazine shows, news coverage and original programming.

The 27 sports federations include the International Basketball Federation, World Rugby, United World Wrestling, International Gymnastics Federation, International Swimming Federation and International Tennis Federation.

The deal also includes partnerships with federations for badminton, bobsleigh and skeleton, boxing, canoe, equestrian sports, fencing, golf, hockey, ice hockey, judo, modern pentathlon union, shooting sport, ski, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting, archery, curling, rowing, sailing and taekwondo.

Planned programming for the channel overall includes live sports events, news and athlete stories, as well as historic Olympic footage and official films from IOC archives. The channel will also feature educational and youth-oriented programming on sustainability, sports science and nutrition.

More than 60 staff are so far part of the Olympic Channel team, which has its commercial and distribution departments based at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, and its technical and production units in Madrid, Spain.

The Spanish outpost is said to be active in production, working with leading international prodcos.

Mark Parkman, GM of Olympic Channel Services, added: “Content production has begun, the technology and platforms are being tested, and there is a growing sense of energy and excitement here among the Olympic Channel team as we prepare for launch this year.”

The channel is having on-going discussions with other international sporting federations, and is also looking to collaborate with athletes, national Olympic committees, rights-holding broadcasters, organizing committees for the Olympic Games, candidate cities, and digital and social media platforms.

Photo courtesy of Olympic Channel Services’ Christina Ponce.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.