The FEI, the international governing body for equestrian sport, announced it has removed the paywall from its FEI.tv streaming platform, and will also provide free archive footage to broadcasters.
The FEI said its over-the-top platform will provide coverage of past events and special equestrian features for free while live sport is halted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, until at least the end of June.
All content on the platform, including the video-on-demand library, will be free to users who register.
It added that existing FEI.tv subscribers will be compensated for the months of April, May and June with automatic refunds on their accounts.
FEI.tv’s streaming technology is delivered by Endeavor Streaming, the streaming arm of Endeavor, the global entertainment, sport and content company that owns IMG.
Ralph Straus, the FEI commercial director, said: “Premium content like this usually sit behind a paywall and is normally available to subscribers, but while there is no ‘live’ sport, we want to give equestrian fans the chance to binge-watch for free during this terrible pandemic.”
FEI.tv’s output usually consists of live streams of all major FEI series and championships, with an extensive range of replays, special features and historic events. FEI has previously made some Grand Prix youth events available free-to-view.
FEI said it is providing free access to video archive footage to television broadcasters in European Broadcasting Union member territories across the continent through its rights partnership with the EBU and to key territories in the rest of the world via its relationship with IMG.
The FEI’s rights agreements with the EBU and IMG run until the end of 2022.
Straus said: “Our broadcast partners are struggling to fill their air-time without live sport, so this initiative has been put in place to ensure that they have access to top equestrian footage and together, we can keep fans around the world happy with their daily dose of equestrian content.”
The initiative follows similar moves taken by other federations, including soccer's Fifa, which is giving access to full classic World Cup matches on social media and distributing archive content to its rights-holding broadcasters for free.
FIH, field hockey’s governing body, has removed geo-blocking restrictions on full re-runs of FIH Hockey Pro League matches and is also producing additional programmes for distribution to its rights holders.