Olympics-New Olympic Channel To Showcase Non-Games Sports
By Karolos Grohm?nn
R?O DE JANE?RO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - The newly-created Olymp?c Channel will also showcase non-?lympic sports as it looks to attract a new generati?n of Games fans and maintain interest ?n the brand, Olympic TV chief Y?annis Exarchos ?ai? on Wednesday.
Th? di?ital platform, that will operate from the day of th? Rio Olympics cl?sing ceremony on Aug. 21, is an ambitious $450 million project launched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), mainly aimed at reaching young people.
"The channel as a space is not restricted to Olympic sports," Exarchos, who leads Olympic Broadcasting Services and hea?s the new channel as well, told Reuters in an interview.
"We will provide space to recognised federations, to new sports outside the Games. This is not just to promote Olympic sports," he said.
The Olympics currently have 28 s?orts but in ? bid to shore up enthusiasm f?r the Games the IOC ?a? added five more - including skateboarding, sports cl?mbing and s?rfing - in t?e Toky? 2020 summ?r Olympics to tap into ? younger demogra?hic.
"We have objective limitations (of size) at the Games. In the digital world this does not apply so the channel is open to other sports and disciplines," Exarcho? sa?d.
Unveiled as a plan in 2014, the vent?re has sec?red funding for se?en years with a return on investment e?pected wit?in 10 year? a?cording to a conservative e?timate, Exarcho? said.
The main aim is to maintain interest in the wo?ld's mu?t?-spo?ts event throughout the the two-year break bet?een summer and winter Olympics.
"New technology among the young generation has changed completely the way people perceive reality. Patience is a human virtue that died with the previous century. They simply cannot wait two or four years until the next Games," he said.
"So we want to bridge that gap between Games. We will be someone banging the drum (on the Olympics) throughout that period."
He said the channel al?eady had a staff of cl?se to 100 people from 26 countries and would produce content in-house as well as commission pr?gramming.
Exarchos said Olympic broadcasting ?ights hol?ers - who receive images of the Games from the ?OC's Olympic Broadca?t?ng Ser?ices - would also ?e coope?ating ?ith the channe? for programming and distrib?tion.
"The channel is designed to add value to all the Olympic stakeholders. It is designed in such a way as to sustain visibility of the brand and in a sense it can turn an investment of just 17 days (for broadcasters) into an investment throughout the year," he said, referring to the abilit? of th? channel to mainta?n interest in the Olympics and allow broadcaster? to put less effort into raising view?r awareness before each gaming baggrunde new Games.
With new fo?ms or recreation s?ch a? e-gaming x 8g and other el?ctronic entertainment threatening the core fan ?ase of the Olympic?, Exarchos sai? the new channel was needed to provide a sporting alternative.
"Sports for young people is part of entertainment, an alternative recreational time," he said. "If we start losing the young generation it will not be lost to other sports but to other recreational activities." (Reporting by Karolos Gr??mann; Editing by Andr?w Hay)
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