Artistic gymnastics set to be integrated into new European Sports Championships in 2018
By Jonathan Rest
Artistic gymnastics looks set to form part of the inaugural 2018 European Sports Championships, a new quadrennial event that will aggregate a group of existing European Championships, Sportcal has learned.
The executive committee of the UEG, gymnastics' European governing body, has voted in favour of a proposal to integrate the European Championships in Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics into the European Sports Championships programme.
In March, Glasgow and Berlin were named as co-hosts of the championships, which will have free-to-air coverage guaranteed via a rights deal with the European Broadcasting Union, the umbrella body of mainly public-service broadcasters.
Glasgow and Berlin were already slated to stage the European Championships in swimming and athletics, respectively, and the Scottish city, along with neighbouring areas, will additionally stage events in cycling, triathlon, rowing and possibly golf, between 25 July and 12 August, 2018.
The UEG told Sportcal today that it hopes artistic gymnastics will also take place in Glasgow.
Talks between UEG president George Guelzec and British Gymnastics representatives are ongoing, and the UEG is optimistic the contracts will be signed off after this month's European Games in Baku.
It said: "Gymnastics will benefit from the positive synergy of organising multiple European Championships in the same place, with the participation of lots of media, led by television."
There will be around 2,700 hours of programming from the Glasgow and Berlin championships.
The Scottish city is already set to host the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships at the SSE Hydro Arena, the venue for gymnastics at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The concept of the European Sports Championships was exclusively first reported by Sportcal two years ago. At the time, the European confederations of the numerous sports were presented with a proposal by industry experts with extensive broadcast experience, to stage a combined championships.
The ultimate aim is to increase the media value of the sports' individual European Championships on the basis that they are struggling to retain free-to-air television coverage because audience ratings are not strong enough separately, and without the buy-in of free-to-air broadcasters, the concept would have arguably failed to launch.
Of major interest to the federations is that each sport's event within the European Sports Championships will continue to be controlled and operated by that federation, thus negating any concerns over a perceived loss of sovereignty.
The federations also retain control of the sponsorship of their events, with only the sale of television rights to the EBU being centralised.
This year's European Championships in Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics took place in Montpellier in France in April. Bern in Switzerland and Bucharest in Romania will play host in 2016 and 2017, respectively.