A ground-breaking initiative to develop a digital and an Over-The-Top (OTT) broadcast platform for British Olympic and Paralympic sports has today been announced by a group of leading sports’ National Governing Bodies, UK Sport, the British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association.
In their first move, the collective of British sports’ bodies have appointed Dominic Coles as the Chair of the newly incorporated GB Sport Media, the over-arching organisation that will manage and take the rights to the platform to market.
The collaboration across the Olympic and Paralympic sector has been in development for nearly two years, with over 2,600 hours of content across 26 sports having already been secured.
Fans of Olympic and Paralympic sports will be able to watch the best live Olympic and Paralympic sports content from around the world focused on British and Northern Irish athletes and teams.
Those rights range from domestic British Championships, to national and regional competitions, all of which will be supplemented by international competition following agreement with several international federations to secure non-exclusive rights to their events.
Behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and original features will also be made available providing unparalleled access to the transformational journeys of the UK’s Olympic and Paralympic heroes.
The concept has been developed in conjunction with advertising network Omnicom Group, led by their sports consultancy, Fuse, with the ambition of launching the platform after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Coles will be responsible for driving negotiations with broadcast and media platforms and publishers as the opportunity to partner with GB Sport Media to deliver the platform is taken to a competitive market tender.
GB Sport Media seeks to appoint a media organisation to co-create the platform with, and to build a long-term relationship with an organisation that understands the strategic and commercial potential inherent in Olympic and Paralympic sports in the UK.
Coles said: “I am delighted and honoured to be asked to lead this exciting and ground-breaking new venture, transforming the coverage of the some of the best of British sport. I have been privileged to have worked with Olympic and Paralympic sports throughout my career at both the BBC and Discovery, and to have helped bring Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s remarkable achievements in recent Games to our screens.
“Now, for the first time, there will be a single destination for many of these sports between Games, giving fans the opportunity to continue to follow their heroes and rising stars as they compete for domestic and international honours.”
UK Sport CEO, Sally Munday, said: “We are hugely excited about the opportunity that GB Sport Media presents for sports fans to watch their favourite Olympic and Paralympic sports more often. This collaboration of over 20 sports is a great example of the collective power of the UK high performance system to work together to drive increased exposure and financial sustainability for sport.”
Andy Parkinson, CEO of British Rowing and Chair of the Nominations Committee for GB Sport Media, commented: “It is fantastic to see this ground-breaking project go to the next stage with the appointment of Dominic. Over the past two years National Governing Bodies have come together with the British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association to work collaboratively to provide sports fans with a home for Olympic and Paralympic sport. Dominic’s skill, expertise and in-depth knowledge of the broadcast and media sector means we are able to now seek partners to make our plans a reality and drive more value out of our collective media rights.”
Andy Anson, CEO of the British Olympic Association, said: “This venture is a great demonstration of the strength of relationships across the British Olympic and Paralympic network and the importance of different sports bodies coming together to pool rights to create meaningful scale. The BOA will support this excellent initiative to the fullest extent possible.”
Mike Sharrock, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, added: “GB Sport Media is a great example of what can be achieved when we work together to promote the incredible array of sporting talent we have in the UK. This innovative approach will give the British public the opportunity to follow their Paralympic and Olympic heroes like never before; getting to know their personalities while also presenting more opportunities to follow the action than ever before.
“It is a wonderful way to showcase Paralympic sport and bring its unique appeal to as wide an audience as possible.”
With over two decades’ experience of senior executive roles across sport and media, Coles held Chief Operating Officer roles across BBC Sport, BBC News and BBC Nations and Regions. He became the BBC’s Director of Operations after helping to mastermind the BBC’s award-winning coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and was recognised as a World Digital Innovator of the Year for overseeing the BBC’s multi-channel digital offering.
He was responsible for all of the BBC’s major sports rights negotiations, including securing long-term deals for the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Six Nations, Premier League and Formula 1.
After joining Discovery in 2014, he became Executive Vice-President of Discovery Northern Europe, President of its Nordic operations, and a member of the Executive Committee of Eurosport. He was also responsible for sub-licencing their pan-European 2018-2024 Olympic Games rights to free-to-air broadcasters.