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IAAF opens public tenders for World Athletics Series rights

Association also looks to establish a joint venture for broadcasting and media production

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has opened public tenders for Europe and Africa media rights concerning the IAAF World Athletics Series and for the establishment of a joint venture for broadcasting and media production.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued in order to select one or more media rights partners for the IAAF World Athletics Series in the territories of Europe and Africa. The agreement will cover all IAAF World Athletics Series competitions and the period will be determined following negotiations. The IAAF said it is open to proposals for wider regions or individual countries, “favouring those best positioned to exploit or act as agents” for those rights in their desired territory.

New digital technologies, IAAF said, have created opportunities for the association and its media partners to deliver more flexible coverage of athletics. Correspondingly, in offering its media rights in Europe and Africa, the IAAF plans to be “receptive and flexible to creative proposals that show an understanding of the aspirations of athletics and the way that fans and casual viewers want to consume sports content”.

The schedule of the RFP outlines a two-month bidding process leading to presentations by the end of June and the announcement of a preferred partner(s) in early July.

The IAAF is also looking to establish a joint venture for broadcasting and media production – looking to deliver a ‘more unified and consistent approach’ to the host broadcasting of athletics events.

The aim, said the association, is to develop production capabilities that can be used by local organising committees around the world to ensure “consistent high level broadcasts and production standards”.

The IAAF believes that building production capabilities by itself will take too long and that the most efficient and beneficial way to launch this new business is to enter into a joint venture with a company that has production capability and experience that could benefit from the IAAF’s network, understanding of athletics, control of the calendar, and relationships with its members and local organising committees.

At the end of a month-long selection process and interviews, the IAAF will award the selected company an exclusive negotiation period. The joint venture is expected to be operational in January 2018.

IAAF CEO Olivier Gers said: “Athletics needs to better embrace and exploit recent digital advances which allow more flexible delivery of our wonderful sport to the world, whether that audience is at home, in the office or on the move.

“We also must ensure we present the excitement and spectacle of athletics at its best and for that a consistently high level of production is essential.

“We therefore look forward to engaging with partners who share our vision for the future of athletics broadcasting based upon consistently high standards and multi-platform delivery that benefit our sport and our commercial partners.”