Christian Milz: Stakeholders working hard to promote 2018 European Championships
European Athletics was pleased to welcome members of the 2018 European Championships Communications Working Group to our newly built headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, for a meeting last month. The group consists of representatives from the Host Cities of Berlin and Glasgow, all seven European Federations involved in the organisation of the inaugural European Championships, and broadcast partner the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
We believe it was important for our organisation to welcome the participants to the House of European Athletics in the spirit of cooperation between the stakeholders that has been engendered in the lead-up to the August 2018 Championships.
In my welcome speech, I emphasised that we have a lot of communications work ahead of us. It is easy for people to be critical towards such an innovative concept as we have no proof or data about the success of a previous multisport European Championships. Thus, we have to work hard to promote our event, pushing the concept and educating everyone within our own communities and beyond.
We see the power of social and digital media as presenting a great opportunity to engage our audiences – whether it be through the outlets of National Federations, National Olympic Committees, European Federations, International Federations, Broadcasters, television presenters, sponsors … or, of course, the athletes.
Indeed, we must ensure we reach that most important outlet for the Championships – the athletes. The event has to be on their radar, so we will need to work hard to ensure they are informed and engaged.
European Athletics is incredibly excited about this new vision for European sports: an 11-day celebration staged every four years that will have a uniquely powerful effect on our participating sports and our athletes. Indeed, it will be the ultimate multisport stage to promote our sports on the continent.
We believe in the sustainability of the Championships, its emphasis on protecting and enhancing the rich history and heritage of our individual Championships, which dates back to 1893 for rowing, 1926 for swimming and 1934 for athletics, and the innovative model of each Championships continuing to be owned and managed by the respective Federation.
With this structure in place, we aim to create a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the status of the Champions of Europe. We aim to bring together all our sports, the public, athletes, nations; to showcase our sports and demonstrate that being a European Champion is a great achievement; to inspire young athletes and encourage the general public to get involved in sport; and to ensure our sports have a long-lasting, positive impact for millions of people.
My feeling from our recent communications meeting is that the seven participating European Federations, the Host Cities – two of the most iconic sporting and cultural cities in Europe – and the EBU are fully focused on promoting the innovative nature of such a special event in order to create an awareness and engagement amongst sports and 'main-event' fans across Europe in the lead-up to the Championships.
It’s great to see but the hard work must continue because before we know it “The Moment” will be upon us.
Christian Milz, European Athletics CEO