LONDON, Great Britain, June 7. IN a push to keep sports fans interested in Olympic sports outside of the years in which Olympics are held, International Olympic Committee presidential candidate Thomas Bach is pushing hard for a global television network that broadcasts sporting events in non-Olympic years.
Bach, currently serving as IOC vice president, is running to fill the seat President Jacques Rogge will vacate in September. One of his platforms is this worldwide TV network run by the IOC, which he acknowledges could take many years to create.
“This is nothing that you can manage in one, two, three or even four or five years,” he said. “'But … I think it's time to undertake this first step.”
According to an article by The Associated Press, the IOC already has an in-house production company in place. Bach said the goal for the network would be about continual exposure for Olympic sports more than financial gain for the organization.
Many discussions with national federations and the IOC's television partners (including NBC in the United States) would need to take place before a true idea is created, Bach said.
“How it could work in the end, technically this would be for the experts,” he said. “It would be pretentious to say I have already the contracts here on the desk and everything is set and ready.”
Other ideas he hopes to move forward if elected president would be a review of the process by which cities bid for the Olympics, a “more flexible Olympic sports program” and limiting terms for IOC executives and elected officials at age 70.
Bach, 59, is one of six candidates for Rogge's position. It will be large shoes to fill, as Rogge held the office for 12 years, a position he took over after the revered Juan Antonio Samarach stepped down after 21 years.
The other candidates are: finance commission chairman Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, IOC vice president Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, executive board members C.K. Wu of Taiwan and Sergei Bubka of Ukraine, and former board member Denis Oswald of Switzerland.
Bach's concern about working with the Olympic sports program would include removing disciplines within existing sports instead of removing entire sports. He wanted to cap the number of athletes at a given Olympic Games at 10,500 (10,820 participated in London in 2012) and remove the IOC limit of 28 sports on the Olympic program.