European Champs a television success story
Distributing rowing regatta images throughout the world has been a priority for World Rowing and big gains have been made with the broadcasting of our events. The upcoming European Rowing Championships is one of the success stories.
This year's European Rowing Championships in Belgrade (SRB) marks the seventh year of the event in its present form. When the championships debuted in 2007 it was a rekindling of the former version which was last held 34 years prior. Poznan (POL) was the 2007 host and a total of 33 European nations participated, with the Czech Republic leading the medals tally.
Broadcasting of this renewed event was in its infancy and over the next few years the level of television coverage remained relatively low. This was mainly because the event was held at the end of the season, after the World Rowing Championships. The appeal, therefore, to broadcasters was limited.
In 2013 the European Championships were changed to the early season date of May and staged in Seville, Spain. This increased the interest and seasonal relevance for broadcasters as the event now had the appeal of being a great build-up story towards the World Rowing Championships.
At this time the World Rowing Productions team came on board. They took advantage of the early-season slot and also made the most of the latest technology like fully-stabilised cameras, super-slowmos and virtual graphics as well as integrated production techniques to improve the quality of viewing racing.
Broadcasting numbers markedly improved in 2013 especially in the number of national television channels showing the event. This number increased ten times between the 2012 and 2013 European Championships.
The change to an early season event also helped countries to appreciate the benefits of attending the championships: top-level competition and the possibility of winning a Championships medal which can bring its own rewards in many countries.The number and quality of athletes continued to rise.
As well as the increase in number of television channels, the total amount of TV coverage continued on an upward trend going from 20 hours in 2012 to 31 hours in 2013. Since 2009 there had been a steady increase in coverage and 2013 reflected this development with a five-times increase (six hours to 31 hours) between 2009 and 2013.
World Rowing Productions COO Florian Schnellinger is in charge of distributing television coverage to as many countries as possible. He is currently working on distribution for the Belgrade championships. Schnellinger is already anticipating significant interest - especially because of the large teams being sent by two of the world's strongest rowing nations - Germany and Great Britain.
The capabilities of the World Rowing website are continually being upgraded and live streaming (with English commentary) has become a regular feature. By the time of the Championships in Belgrade, live streaming will be also be available on mobile devices and tablets. Worldrowing.com live streaming is the sole method for the United States to watch the live coverage.
World Rowing Productions also provides news stories and interviews with athletes including those in their mother tongue. This has increased the recognition of rowing in countries that may not show the live racing coverage. These additional services have also helped the athletes to give them exposure and increase their recognition. .
These clips are available on World Rowing's YouTube channel.
The European Rowing Championships in Belgrade will take place from 30 May to 1 June 2014. More information can be found here.