(Reuters) - The first European Championships, a new multi-sport event, gets under way on Thursday with Glasgow hosting the combined event of various continental championships.
The idea is a simple one — instead of European Championships for different sports being held at separate venues and with their own schedules, they will be clustered together in a host city creating a similar vibe to an Olympics.
While the European Athletics Championships will be held in Berlin, Glasgow will host Aquatics, Cycling, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon along with a new European Golf Team Championships.
The sports have combined forces in terms of broadcasting so that even though athletics will be in Germany, it will be part of a multi-sports package going out on television across the continent and globally through a deal with the European Broadcasting Union.
“Many of the broadcasters have pledged a ‘major event’ production like the commitment they have for the Olympic Games or World Cup,” Svein Arne Hansen, president of the European Athletic Association told Reuters.
“We are currently looking at over 3,300 hours of broadcast intentions for the championships overall, compared to a standalone European Athletics Championships that had about 1,500 hours of broadcast hours for Zurich 2014.
“We need to make sure athletics remains on the main free-to-air TV channels and the idea of the European Championships, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, will make sure that is the case,” he added.
The Aquatics event should attract the top swimmers from across Europe ahead of next year’s World Championships in South Korea and the 2020 Tokyo Games.
“With the other six European Federations we are convinced that the upcoming 12 days will offer much more benefits for all stakeholders than if anyone had done its own event alone,” said Gergely Csurka, spokesman for European swimming’s governing body LEN.
“It has the advantage of raising awareness among sports enthusiasts towards such different disciplines. It can bring European swimming lovers closer to the other well-established continental events just as their fans might become more interested in following the actions in aquatics,” he added.
The timing clash with the US PGA Championships means the top European golfers will be missing from Scotland.
The British men’s team, for example, is made up of players outside the top 200 positions in the world rankings.
But the best European performers are expected at the other events.
“The response to the first edition has been very positive amongst our athletes. The participating European Federations have confirmed that they expect their top stars to be present in either Glasgow or Berlin,” said Hansen.
The event is not to be confused with the European Games, run by the European Olympic Committee, which was held in Baku in 2015 and is scheduled for Minsk, in Belarus, in 2019.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge