In the previous Column carried in The News newspaper dated Friday 8 November 2013 mention was made of the 10th anniversary of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) and of the occasion of its 11th General Assembly convened on St Thomas, US Virgin Islands on Tuesday 5 November 2013.
In that Column we recounted the history of CANOC and hinted that it was making significant progress amongst the global sports community.
On Thursday 7 and Friday 8 November respectively, CANOC convened the first joint Workshop between National Olympic Committees under its ambit and National Paralympic Committees under the ambit of the Caribbean Association of National Paralympic Committees (CANPC). The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was also fully involve din the process. In so doing, CANOC became the first grouping of NOCs anywhere in the world to engage in such an undertaking making the activity a major historic moment for the regional organisation and enhancing further its global image and standing.
Just as CANOC completed that memorable workshop, a few days later, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issues a news release of another historic moment for CANOC. The IOC has awarded the television rights to the Summer Olympic Games of 2016 to CANOC through its CANOC Broadcasting Inc., of which the St Vincent and the Grenadines NOC is a shareholder.
The workshop was sponsored by the Organising Committee of the Pan American Games scheduled for 2015 in Toronto, Canada, TO2015, and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) via Olympic Solidarity.
The Education and Training Commission of CANOC coordinated the workshop, the fourth of six sponsored by TO2105.
NOCs got the opportunity to learn about the IPC and NPCs as well as about the CANPC. They learnt about the vision, mission and objectives of these organisations and the success, prospects and challenges confronting them.
CANOC has a keen interest in having its members work closely with NPC around the region in order to ensure that its commitment to inclusion as an integral component of Olympism is more readily manifested across the Caribbean.
At the conclusion of the two-day workshop the following resolutions were agreed:
The participants of the CANOC/TO2015 NPC Workshop, having engaged in a number of important discussions in relation to the International Paralympic Movement, the state of the Paralympic Movement in the Caribbean and the relationship between National Olympic Committees and National Paralympic Committees in the region, agree the following resolutions:
Caribbean NOCs and NPCs would engage their respective governments to determine whether or not they have signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 30.
CANOC and CANPC would send a joint communication to the CARICOM in respect of the number of Caribbean countries that have not yet signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Article 30, urging action in respect of encouraging defaulters to sign and ratify in the shortest possible time.
CANOC and CANPC would work with those countries where no NPC exists to encourasge the establishment of such bodies utilising a model of NOC/NPC collaboration and with the involvement of national sports associations whose international federations are already on the pathway to inclusion and integration.
CANOC and CANPC sign a Memorandum of Understanding in respect of their working relationship in the future.
The two organisations, CANOC and CANPC, officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding as the final act of the workshop in St Thomas, heralding the start of a new relationship that can only add value to the Caribbean sport movement and yield greater development of Physical Activity for All in the region.
In 1999 Caribbean NOCs began looking at the prospect of one day finding its own way of facilitating television coverage of the quadrennial Olympics of a sort that allowed our people to see their own teams in the Opening Ceremony and follow the fortunes of all of our athletes during the world’s largest sporting spectacle. This inevitable meant one day acquiring the television rights themselves.
Tied to this was the belief that the acquisition of these television rights would prove and invaluable and sustainable source of funding for NOCs for the future.
Earlier this year, the years of work finally bore fruit with the creation of CANOC Broadcasting Inc.
According to CANOC, CANOC Broadcasting Inc. (CBI) is a company that has been formed by the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) across the Caribbean to purchase, monetise and manage the broadcast rights for the Olympic Games and other sporting properties. CBI’s mission is to develop extensive Olympic broadcast coverage that maximises the public’s awareness of National Olympic Committees (NOC), Commonwealth Games Associations (CGA), Caribbean Athletes and the Olympic Movement, and create long‐term sustainable sources of funding for Caribbean NOCs and CGAs through the acquisition and sale of broadcast rights for sporting events.
Earlier this year NOCs began committing their funds to procure shares in CBI in order to start the process of acquiring the television rights for our region.
CANOC engaged the services of former President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, Larry Romany, to serve as CBI’s first CEO. Incidentally, it was Romany who, back in 1999 first approached the Caribbean NOCs with the idea that is now a matured end product.
Following the signing, Romany was quoted as saying…This agreement heralds a new era for sport in the Caribbean. The economic benefits present considerable funding opportunities for developing youth in the region and increase the viability and international competitiveness of the Caribbean athlete. We are very excited at the prospect of a more integrated approach to the development of sports.
What CANOC has achieved here is that it has become the first non media organisation in history to acquire television rights to the prestigious Olympic Games.
CBI has acquired broadcast rights on all media platforms in all languages in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks and Caicos, a truly historic and amazing feat.
This means that NOCs are now in a position to leverage sponsors in their respective countries to aid in the coverage and also benefit from the larger and more lucrative sponsors that CBI has already begun to attract across the Americas.
The historic occasion of the signing of the rights over to CBI was marked by the words of newly elected IOC President Thomas Bach, who said: Throughout the history of the Olympic Games, athletes from across the Caribbean have produced outstanding, inspirational performances. We are pleased to have reached this agreement to enable extensive broadcast coverage of the Rio 2016 Games in the region.
Bach was obviously enthused that so early in his presidency of the IOC he could be immersed in such an historic moment for a grouping of countries in an organization, CANOC, which has been seeking official recognition on merit rather than favours.
IOC Member for Puerto Rico, Richard Carrión, who led the negotiations, observed that the CBI will now work to secure broadcast partners across the region to ensure the best coverage of the Olympic Games in Rio. The agreement includes assurances that there will be expansive free television coverage of the Games.
Importantly for the Caribbean, we would be able to see our athletes long before they get to the Games. We will see them in their preparations and follow them through to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.
It is important that this initiative succeeds since it is expected that the model being used would certainly open up opportunities for NOCs in other parts of the world that have long since been heavily dependent on sources of funding that left them almost mendicant in some instances.
CANOC has therefore, in the past week, signalled to the world that in this Caribbean we possess an abundance of talent at different levels and in various aspects of the sport development process.
The prospect of NOCs and NPC working together for the broader development of our youths in an all-inclusive approach can only redound to the benefit of us as a region. In many respects the workshop may well have facilitated in no small measure a significant advance to the process of regional integration in this Caribbean of ours.
Sport can do wonders for a people.
The acquisition of the television rights for the Olympic Games of Rio2016 highlights just how committed the Caribbean Olympic Movement is to the provision of opportunities for the advancement of our youths, first for increased participation, then the striving after excellence by our talented athletes. This achievement points to a remarkable commitment to acquire the financial benefits from the sale of the television rights to be committed in full to enhancing the well-being of our Caribbean people through Physical Activity for All and the fostering of elite sports in our part of the world.
In the previous Column we alluded to the future of CANOC as being particularly bright.
The history of sport in the Caribbean continues to be written and CANOC is now an indelible feature of the sporting landscape that is so rapidly unfolding.