When some years ago the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a session to discuss the future of the Olympic movement, there was a group of a few journalists reporting from these discussions and decisions. When from Sept. 7 – 10, 2013 the IOC members decide which city will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 or which of the six candidates will succeed Jacques Rogge, around 1,800 journalists from all over the world will be reporting from Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires.
This is a new scale of media operation, similar or even bigger than those at huge sporting events, such as World Championships. The IOC press operations team and the Argentinean organizers have set up the biggest-ever media center at a session with 5,000 square meters of space, hundreds of kilometers of cables and room for all the accredited people to work.
The greatest interest comes from those countries which are directly involved. Japan is sending about 900 journalists to Argentina in order to report on Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games. But Spanish TV and Turkish Television are also preparing for their special broadcasts on 7 September, D-Day for the three candidate cities. Many of them are reporting live all day.
The show will be on as all candidate cities are bringing high profile personalities to Buenos Aires – another reason, why media interest is growing enormously. Princess Takamato is representing the imperial family of Japan, Crown Prince Felipe from Spain supports Madrid and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is flying from the G20 summit in Russia directly to Argentina.
When it comes to the decisions on the other days, the number of journalists working in the media center will certainly be lower than on Day 1, but interest still appears to be very high. FILA president Nena Lalovic has received 1 million support letters for his sport –from Japanese fans alone. More letters came from all other parts of the world and are now taking up a huge space in his office.
Taking into account that the core fans of squash, softball and baseball are also hoping to be included in the programs for the Olympic Games 2020 and 2024, it is clear that there is huge potential for an enormous number of people following that crucial moment and the whole session on the IOC’s website www.olympic.org, which is broadcasting live. A total of 25 channels (including channels from Europe, USA, Brazil and China) will take the live feed from Buenos Aires at least during the bid cities decision.
On the last day of the session media interest will remain high, at least from German media. When six candidates are throwing their hats into the five rings hoping to become IOC President and successor to Jacques Rogge, journalists from all over the world will cover the decision and the reactions.
German Television does not want to miss anything and is sending a group of 41 people to Buenos Aires (35 for ARD group of broadcasters and 6 for ZDF network) in order to report on the presidential voting. That is by far the biggest group from the six candidates’ countries. Singapore Television has expressed interest, but up to now no other TV station from other candidates countries are planning to cover the IOC’s presidential election.
Whereas in the past the international signal from the congress was often a 2 or 3-camera production, filmed by local personnel, this time it will be on a different scale.
IOC-owned Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) , based in Spain, is for the first time ever responsible for the highest quality of TV production. The IOC will stream the session live on its own YouTube channel.
Only the actual electronic voting processes will not be shown live – the rest will be broadcast. The biggest challenge for the organizers this time is the relatively small congress hall at the Hilton hotel, due to the high level of demand which it has never been experienced before on such a level.
Most of the journalists will not even be able to access the meeting room itself. They will have to watch the discussions and presentations on 50 television screens in the media center or the hotel lobby. The biggest screen has been installed in the lobby of the hotel and is about 10 meters long and 6 meters high.
This story appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl Heinz-Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Heinz-Huba.