On the evening of 27 July 2012, the London fog gave way to a pyro-technicolour explosion. Below, one of the most spectacular shows on Earth was underway. In a stadium full of heroes, to the sound of British rock music’s biggest names, 260 copper petals were lit, before rising together to form a gigantic flower of flames, the Olympic cauldron. This was how the London Olympics got underway, in an 80,000-capacity stadium but with a global audience of around 4.5 billion! No, I haven’t got the numbers wrong, that huge differential was the result of the world’s televisions being tuned in to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
This was the magic of television, a medium that has become a veritable fairy godmother to the Olympic and Paralympic movements. In one click of the remote, billions of people in millions of locations worldwide found themselves inside the stadium, experiencing that same excitement in their own homes. A boon to the advertising industry who, along with world-class sponsors, got behind sport and, after a metaphorical 100-metre sprint, afforded the Olympic Movement an enormous global reputation. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) took advantage of television’s vast capacity for communication to help the development of sport and, in turn, the Games.
This was how the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) were born, the body responsible for TV and Radio coverage and transmission of the Olympic Games, passing the signal to IOC-licensed broadcasters throughout the world. These broadcasters are important customers for the Games, tracking the chain of events that eventually leads to the next Olympic extravaganza.
And Rio de Janeiro will be no different. In 2014 and 2015, the OBS will have meetings for all the city’s broadcasters to provide information on a number of topics relating to TV and Radio services throughout the Games. The first World Broadcast Meeting (WBM) took place at the end of July and another is scheduled for the same time next year. This year’s WBM included more than 50 broadcasters and some 250 broadcasting staff, including producers, directors and CEOs. This was an essential get-together for planning their campaigns for the 2016 Games against the backdrop of the Rio 2016 Committee’s organisational initiatives.
Considered a success by both broadcasters and the OBS, this year’s WBM served to confirm that the Rio Games are on the right track. Everything suggests that the world will again be watching, thanks to the magic of TV and the lure of the Marvellous City, one of the best and certainly most beautiful Games in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic movement.