‘We are permanently in beta’: European sports broadcasting is still in a coronavirus-forced state of reinvention

Digiday 15 Sep 2020 04:01
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September 15, 2020 by Lara O'Reilly

European broadcasters were among the first to welcome elite live sports back to screens, after a coronavirus-induced pause. But the sporting calendar remains log-jammed for the rest of the calendar year and that’s forced broadcasters and rightsholders to once again be more flexible — in everything from scheduling to creating more custom commercial partnerships.

Discovery-owned Eurosport lost around 4,500 hours of content and programming it had scheduled between March and August for its TV and over-the-top platforms amid coronavirus lockdowns — including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Now, for the remainder of the year, and likely into the start of 2021, the schedule is more packed than usual. In cycling, for example, more than 200 days’ worth of cycling is set to be shown in just 100 days now that the season has been condensed to later in the year — with Eurosport also airing some racing across the Eurosport app and the Global Cycling Network. (In 2019, Eurosport aired 200 days and 2,500 hours of live racing — but spread out throughout the entire year.) 

And back in May, during the break in live cycling, Eurosport and Global Cycling Network aired an entire five-stage professional virtual cycling event in partnership with advertiser Zwift, an online training platform.

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Mike RichDiscovery EurosportDiscovery International NetworksCEO David ZaslavGlobal Cycling
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