After its creation was approved by the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in 2012, the inaugural European Games took place in Baku, Azerbaijan this past June to overall positive reviews. Now, the EOC has released some hard data on the overall viewership of the Baku Games. The metrics are indicative that the first undertaking of the event was a general success.
Overall, an estimated worldwide cumulative television audience of 1.7 billion people watched the competition, spread over 145 countries and an estimated 832 million households. 1,000 hours of live content was distributed over the course of the Games, which lasted from June 12-28th.
EOC President, Patrick Hickey, who was the originator of the entire European Games concept, says that, “These figures are further evidence of the huge popularity of the inaugural European Games amongst sport fans in Europe and also worldwide. We realised early on during Baku 2015 that the Games were even more popular amongst our television audiences than we had hoped for – as many broadcasters were coming back asking if they could show more content than originally agreed. These figures underline the wide-ranging appeal of the European Games and will help the organisers of the 2019 European Games secure even better broadcast and commercial deals than Baku 2015, as the first-time host of the Games, was able to do.”
In direct contrast to these measures is the fact that the Netherlands dropped out as hosts of the second-ever European Games scheduled for 2019. In addition to citing a lack of financial security within his nation, at the time that the Netherlands backed out in early June, Dutch Sports Minister Edith Schippers also declared a “lack of interest from some international sports federations who have questioned the need for yet another event in an already crowded sporting calendar.”
At this time, the EOC is still looking for a host for the 2019 edition of the Games, but no doubt the media coverage numbers will be a key selling point when trying to attract hosting candidates. As of August, Hickey indicated to AroundTheRings.com that the EOC was in “heavy negotiations” with two cities within one Eastern European country and hoped to get everything signed by the end of September or October.