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Olympic Broadcasters Gear Up For The Biggest Show On The Earth

Written By Press Trust Of India | Mumbai | Published:

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  • Clock-watching is an integral part of any Olympic Games but even the most eagle-eyed sporting anoraks might be forgiven for missing the fact that Sunday marks 600 days until the start of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo
  • These are the people of the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), a wing of the International Olympic Committee responsible since 2008 for providing the pictures of every competition which are beamed around the world

Clock-watching is an integral part of any Olympic Games but even the most eagle-eyed sporting anoraks might be forgiven for missing the fact that Sunday, December 2 marks 600 days until the start of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

For most people, it is not actually a particularly significant milestone but for 160 people of 35 nationalities beavering away in a building overlooking a highway in Madrid, the pressure of organising the biggest television show on earth just went up a notch.

These are the people of the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), a wing of the International Olympic Committee responsible since 2008 for providing the pictures of every competition which are beamed around the world.

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The size of the audience is phenomenal as is the money that is generated. Over five billion viewers tuned in for the last Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 as opposed to 3.4 billion for this year's football World Cup.

Television stations from around the world have dished out more than six billion dollars for the rights to the Games in Tokyo -- broadcasting the event is a complex, lucrative business managed from the Spanish capital. 

Beijing 2008 marked the OBS' first outing and it comes as no surprise to discover that Sotiris Salamouris, who is in charge of technology at OBS, was back in Beijing last month to discuss the next Winter Olympics in 2022.

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"We need to have a good number of discussions with the organising committee in terms of the infrastructures they need to make available for us," says Salamouris.

"Preparing and planning for the games is an ongoing function, so as we speak we are obviously very close to the finalisation of our plans for Tokyo," says Yiannis Exarchos, the imposing Greek boss of the OBS.

"But we have already started quite detailed planning for the winter games in Beijing (2022) and we have already started engaging with Paris (2024) and Los Angeles (2028)." 

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