March 26, 2015 / 12:35 PM / in 4 years

New kid on the block as European sports championships launched for 2018

BERLIN, March 26 (Reuters) - The European sports championships, a new multi-sports event planned for 2018, will aim to establish itself as an attractive continent concept, officials said on Thursday, as a clash with the European Games looks inevitable.

The European sports championships will combine the continental competitions for rowing, triathlon, swimming athletics and cycling into a 12-day event held in Scotland and Berlin.

All competitions apart from athletics will be held in Glasgow with Berlin hosting track and field competitions as they were awarded the European athletics championships a few years ago.

“This event is the individual championships coming together, swimming, cycling, triathlon, athletics and rowing, held over a 12-day period July-August 2018,” European athletics association head of communication James Mulligan said.

“There are a number of key benefits that are brought to individual sports. It is a big milestone in European sports. It is the first time ever the existing championships will be combined,” he said.

“The thinking of course behind it is to build the profile and exposure of the European championships through increased TV audiences.”

Mulligan said the new concept would be attractive to free-to-air broadcasters within the European Broadcasting Union while also “decluttering” the calendar.

“We are a delivering an attractive competition format to the EBU with a coordinated approach,” he said.

“We are elevating the status of becoming European champion. We are building on the tradition of existing European championships and are decluttering the calendar.”

The event, however, looks set to affect the European Games, an inaugural continental competition organised by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and staged for the first time this year in Azerbaijan’s Baku.

Athletics will only be represented in Baku with a third-tier event and swimming will be equally low key.

The 2019 edition of the European Games would be staged only a year after the inaugural European sports championships.

Asked whether the event was in direct competition with the European Games and fighting for the same pie, Mulligan said the two concepts were different.

“No, because the European Games is a new event organised by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and it is a completely new event with many disciplines involved,” Mulligan said.

“The European sports championships is different because it is made up of existing championships.” (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)

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