— Published 11 August 2022

At Munich 2022, Europe plays the unity card

D-day for the second edition of the European multisport championships. The continental event, which brings together nine Olympic sports (athletics, rowing, beach volleyball, sprint canoeing, cycling, climbing, artistic gymnastics, table tennis and triathlon), starts this Thursday 11 August in Munich, Germany. The event will end on Sunday 21 August.

Unity of venue, common general ranking of nations, visual identity and identical medals for all disciplines… Four years after the first edition was organised in Glasgow and Berlin, Munich 2022 is pushing the boundaries of a unique multi-sport concept.

Marc Jörg, the Swiss founder and director of the competitions, answered FrancsJeux’ questions.

FrancJeux: How is this second edition of the European Multisport Championships looking in terms of participation and ticket sales?

Marc Jörg: The participation is not quite finalised yet, but we have the same number of nations as in 2018 in Glasgow and Berlin. All the countries are there. We will have about 4,700 athletes. Ticketing has been very uncertain for a long time because of the health crisis. It started late. Several scenarios were envisaged, between the closed doors and the absence of a gauge. In the end, the European Championships will be able to take place without any constraints on the number of spectators on the sites. The sale is underway, it is progressing well, but the COVID has changed the buying habits. People are deciding even more at the last minute. We have already sold over 200,000 tickets. We hope to reach the 300,000 mark.

Have you opted for a common ticketing system for all the European Championships in Munich?

Yes. In Glasgow in 2018, it turned out that a centralised ticketing system yielded better results than the sum of the individual championships sold. So we have continued with this process. But, as I said, COVID has changed behaviour. At the moment, the sales figures are increasing every day. Perhaps we will reach the best figures at the end of the competition.

How did you prepare the event to ensure that the nine European championships would be united beyond the venue?

The sports organisation aspects are the responsibility of the European federations of each sport. But we have unified the branding of the multi-sport European Championships. The graphic identity is common, especially for television. The medals are also identical from one sport to another. Another very important element is the existence of a general medal table for all disciplines. By bringing all sports together, we give smaller countries that would be successful in one discipline the opportunity to achieve a good overall ranking. The competition programme is also harmonised: two finals are never scheduled at the same time. But there are always highlights to offer to broadcasters and spectators. Finally, we have coordinated the international communication.

Does the unity concept increase the media coverage of the European Multi-sport Championships?

Without a doubt. For the first edition, in 2018, the total media coverage was higher than that of the individual European Championships combined. It was about twice as much. The phenomenon will be confirmed this year in Munich. We had 3,000 hours of television coverage in 2018. In Munich 2022, we will have more than 3,500 hours.

Does the announced departure of athletics from the European Multi-sport Championships in 2026 threaten the future of the event?

Like us, athletics is currently focused on the success of the 2022 edition. The event is still young, only two editions. It must prove its right to exist. For the future, we will take stock of the situation with all the sports after the end of the 2022 European Championships. We will see with each of them if they wish to continue. Perhaps athletics will change its position.

Have you already registered any bids for the 2026 edition?

We don’t have a classic selection process, with a call for bids. We have built a network of contacts with potential cities. Several have already expressed their interest. We have a good group of potential host cities. Some of them are present in Munich as part of our observer programme. They are going to observe and study. We are only in the second edition, the interested cities want to see the result of Munich 2022 before going further.

When will you award the 2026 edition?

Ideally, early next year. We would like to be able to develop a project with a city after Munich 2022, to propose it to the European federations. But the timetable may change. It will depend on the speed at which the cities want to move forward in their thinking and make their decision.