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Will the 2018 European Championships receive the attention it is looking for?

Balzs Baji of Hungary takes a selfie with the Glasgow 2018 European Championships mascot Bonnie the Seal (Photo: Getty Images)
by Alejandro Munevar, AIPS Young Reporter, Colombia

LONDON. August 11, 2017- Glasgow and Berlin will co-host the brand new concept of the European Championships between the 2nd and the 12 of August next year. The event that will reunite seven sports, 4500 athletes and attract an expected TV audience of one billion is an “all in” bet in the pursuit of more attention for singular championships on the European continent.

The event will bring together the European Championships of seven major sports with six of them – aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, triathlon and golf held in Glasgow, with some of the venues used at the 2014 Commonwealth Games set to be used, while athletics will be held in Berlin at the historic Olympic Stadium.

A new multi - sport concept

The goal is for European championships is to embrace a different format, to build on each other’s’ popularity and bringing different audiences in massive numbers, and to become a sustainable event once every four years.

As explained by European Athletics’ vice president Jean Gracia, the matter of bringing these particular sports together is not related is not only a commercial movement, but to raise the status of becoming a European champion in each of these sports.

“What we want is that European Champions in each of these sports get the attention they genuinely deserve. Becoming a continental champion is a big thing, but it is often something that can go unnoticed,” Garcia said, at an event held during London 2017 to celebrate less than a year to go until the start of the inaugural European championships.

The event featured some of the European stars of the World Championships in London, including Greek pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi, Norway’s Karsten Warholm whose smile after winning the 400m went viral, bronze in the 110m hurdles Hungary’s Balzs Baji and German middle distance runner Konstanze Klosterhalfen who will be a local star in Berlin next year.

Media importance

European Championships organizers know the importance that media will have for making the event a success, and for bringing the necessary public engagement. As emphasized earlier by IAAF president Sebastian Coe, media has become one of the most important sponsors of the sport, which is why organizers will be hoping that national federations will present their best athletes in Berlin and Glasgow, to put the event in the spotlight.

The organizers are expecting a billion spectators from across the continent, in order to highlight European sport. The two broadcast systems will be of essence, but so will be the use of social media in order to capture the attention of younger audiences that all sports federations, led by the International Olympic Committee have set as their goal for compeititons.

The initiative of the multi-sport multi-city European Championships can be a positive reality for less exposed sport on the continent. However, the individual sports and their federations can benefit if the top athletes are present. Otherwise, attention and relativity will be hard to come by for the sports in years in between world championships and Olympic Games.

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