Flocke in Oberhof
LOTTO Thüringen ARENA am Rennsteig

“Oberhof can do a Biathlon World Championship”: organisers draw a positive balance after the title matches

Eight new World Champions, fours successful teams, 1.015 supporting volunteers and 151.700 enthusiastic fans in the “ARENA am Rennsteig”: the BMW IBU Biathlon World Championships 2023 were a big success. With the mass starts on todays’s Sunday, the title matches in the Thuringian forest will find their close.

Oberhof can do a Biathlon World Championship. We are looking back at two weeks of World Championships with very exciting competitions and many emotional winter sport moments, which will remain in people’s memory for a long time. We truly experienced and mastered every kind of weather condition, from snow-covered and bitterly cold via sunny days to storm warning and heavy rain. We are proud of many volunteers who made this possible and who welcomed the biathlon world so sincere in Thuringia”, says head of the organising committee (OC) Thomas Grellmann.

At the preparations and execution, the organiser “Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH” were supported by numerous partners, amongst others the International Biathlon Union and the German Ski Association, the Free State of Thuringia, the district “Schmalkalden-Meiningen” and the administrative union “Thüringer Wintersportzentrum” Oberhof as well as national partners. Additionally, 1.015 volunteers were always on the go. “An event like this can only be achieved together. The past days and weeks have shown again that main office and volunteers are working together. For many volunteers, the World Championship was the highlight of their voluntary work. Even more we hope that it is also a motivation for the next generation”, says the deputy of the OC Bernd Wernicke.

A total of 151.700 spectators came to the nine competition days. With 23.500 fans each, the competition days with two races – the pursuits on the 12th of February, the relays on the 18th of February and the mass starts on the 19th of February – were sold out. “After the Corona pandemic and two years of ‘ghost World Cups’ we are happy with the sold tickets. Many fans remained loyal to us, we could inspire some new ones and win them for the next years”, says Thomas Grellmann.

Since the extensive modernisation works at the “ARENA am Rennsteig”, financed through the Free State of Thuringia and the German state, the organisers started – due to the Corona pandemic – without a final rehearsal into the second World Championships in the history of Oberhof. “Considering that we could not practice the processes beforehand, the team came together quickly and good. The feedback shows us that the cooperation of the separate departments worked better and better throughout the World Championships and that we could oven overcome some hurdles as quick as possible”, Thomas Grellmann sums up. Amongst others, the arrival and parking concept around the P+R parking area “Thüringeti” between Crawinkel and Frankenhain was readjusted successfully.

In the post-processing, the organiser will full evaluation. Surveys among the fans and volunteers have already been started for that purpose. “The results will provide us with conclusions for the next World Cups. The next one is in less than eleven months. After a short break, our thoughts will already move to January 2024”, says Bernd Wernicke.

Interesting facts and numbers:

Accreditations: About 5.000 accreditations were issued in total, amongst them about 1.900 accreditations for the volunteers in various departments and the organising committee including service and security personnel as well as 750 accreditations for the teams with 164 male athletes and 144 female athletes from 37 nations and their advisors.

Viewing rate: From the 8th to the 14th of February 2023, the ZDF broadcasted in television alone 6 hours and 18 minutes live from the BMW IBU Biathlon World Championships 2023 in Oberhof. The TV broadcasting reached 4,10 million viewers on average, with 31,4 percent market share. From the 15th of February onwards, the ARD reported about the competitions, with about 200 live minutes from Oberhof. The women’s pursuit at the 12th of February in the ZDF were followed by 4.63 million viewers (quota 31.5 percent). The highest quota to date was achieved by the men’s relay on the 18th of February 2023 in the ARD with 37.7 percent (3.90 million).

Fanshop: Among the best sellers in the official fan shop were hats, the Playmobil special edition and the race bibs. Sold out are the biathlon version of the Oberhof World Championship mascot “Flocke”, the knitted Oberhof hats and the Oberhof mug.

Flower Ceremony and medal ceremonies: At the flower and medal ceremonies, 66 medals, trophies and World Championship wines each were handed over. Additionally, the victors and those placed on the podium could take 132 World Championship mascots home with them. Furthermore, at the farewell of the volunteers, 34 wooden trophies were handed over.

Volunteers: 1.015 volunteers supported the organising committee. Each day about 750n volunteers were in action. The volunteer supply distributed more than 700 meals. In addition to that are about 200 meals distributed each day to volunteers who were supplied due to the distance of their areas of operation decentralised.

Cottage village (Hüttendorf): The fans could feed themselves in the cottage village. 15 association huts and eleven further huts from commercial operators provided everything what the fan heart could desire. 175.000 sausages (Bratwürste) were sold, what corresponds to about the length of both mass starts of 15 kilometres (men) and 12.5 kilometres (women). Furthermore, “Rostbrätl” amounts which could fill the area of the shooting mats were sold. The fans drank 25.000 litre beer and 17.500 litre “Glühwein”.

Logistics: The logistics of the BMW IBU Biathlon World Championships 2023 in Oberhof is a mammoth task. 178 functional containers were built up, 100 alone in the team area. 25 kilometres electric cables were laid and 1840 metre grid, 1050 metre construction fence and 160 metre wooden fence erected. 23 toilet containers could be found across the grounds.

Media representatives: 685 media representatives were accredited to the BMW IBU Biathlon World Championships 2023 in Oberhof, among them 77 journalists and 48 photographers. Nearly 100 reporters and commentators as well as more than 300 people from the technical personal and production staff worked on the TV coverage. 29 camera teams from 14 nations, among them the host broadcaster, were in action.

Tickets: On the nine competition days, 151.700 spectators were welcomed. With 23.500 fans each, the pursuits, the relays and the mass starts were sold out. Tickets for the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024 are already on sale from September 2023 onwards.

Transfer: For the final mass start races on Sunday (19.02.2023) 91 shuttle buses were in action between the P+R parking lots and the “ARENA am Rennsteig”. On the final World Championship day, 1.750 vehicles parked on the P+R parking space “Thüringeti”, 617 vehicles in Steinbach-Hallenberg, 532 in Suhl, and in total 270 vehicles at the RABA and the road to the shooting range in Zella-Mehlis.

On the various competition days, between 26 and 83 parking tickets for travel buses were given out. On the sold-out days between 2000 and 2500 fans came to World Championship train station in Zella-Mehlis by train, on the other days about 10 percent of the ticket holders.

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