As the construction work to build the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), the home of the broadcast operation for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, has been completed, the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG) officially has handed over the facility to Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) on June 5, 2017.
“The technical handover of the IBC by the Organising Committee means that we are firmly on track to deliver the infrastructure required for the broadcast operation as per our plans,” OBS Chief Executive Officer Yiannis Exarchos said. “POCOG should be commended for the quality of technical work it has undertaken to ensure a smooth fit-out process.”
“With approximately eight months until the Olympic Winter Games, handing over the IBC to Olympic Broadcasting Services is another meaningful milestone for PyeongChang 2018,” said POCOG President Lee Hee-beom. “The IBC will bring the Games to billions across the globe and POCOG will support OBS to deliver the best conditions for Broadcasters around the world.”
Located in the heart of the Mountain Cluster in the Alpensia resort, the IBC will serve as the primary base of operations for OBS and the Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs). From here, nearly 4,000 hours of images will be transmitted across the world during the 17 days of the Games, showcasing the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games to billions of viewers and provide facilities and services to approximately 6,000 broadcast personnel. It will be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, guaranteeing that every moment of the action can be seen throughout the world.
With a total area of 51,024 square metres, the IBC is one of the largest venues of the 2018 Games. Construction works began in December 2015 and took approximately 17 months to be completed.
More than 50 Broadcast organizations will be based on site at the IBC. The lobby and office area, which will consist of both OBS and POCOG space, is an attached three-story building, and is considered part of the overall structure. Special services will also be available to personnel working at the IBC, such as shops and cafes, to support practical needs and enable people to work efficiently and comfortably. Enclosed TV studios will be installed on the roof of the IBC, along with several stand-up positions, allowing Broadcasters to conduct live reports with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the Alpensia village.
OBS has worked closely with POCOG to optimize the design of the building shell, in order for it to be as efficient as possible without compromising its essential function as the heart of the broadcast operation. As part of this extensive process of operational optimization, OBS has collaborated with POCOG to reduce the number of the building levels of the original proposal from two to a single floor and even further lessen the overall height of the single level required construction for about 80% building area; to optimize the broadcast power needs by reducing the total footprint of the main electrical switchgear of the building by more than 30% (compared to previous Olympic Winter Games); and to find a solution for building the external studios for the Broadcasters in a way that allows for better sharing of important services with the IBC itself (e.g. power, security, transportation, catering, etc.)
Another important feature of the IBC in PyeongChang is its improved design with respect to HVAC requirements. Being a facility that houses an extensive framework of dedicated broadcast and IT technical systems, there is customarily a need for massive cooling capacity. However, by taking advantage of the very low temperatures of the mountainous location, it has been possible to develop a cooling system that relies mostly on an external air source.
Unlike previous Olympic Winter Games, for 2018 a secondary broadcast centre will not be required for 2018/ In the past, a satellite facility has been installed in a separate location to act as a smaller version of the IBC (usually in the mountains if the IBC has been located closer to the host city or indoor venues). However, for PyeongChang, OBS has been able to make the most of the location of the IBC within the mountain region and eliminate the need for a coastal broadcast centre, thereby reducing the broadcast footprint and overall impact on the host city.
“OBS is highly satisfied with the quality of the IBC construction and the level of cooperation we have had since the first day of the project,” Nikolaos Tarantos, OBS Construction Manager said. “Together with the OBS Engineering team, it is our turn now to take up the responsibility of assembling all the necessary infrastructure and connectivity to provide the Broadcasters with the best conditions to operate.”
Now having access to the 12 broadcast compartments and office areas, OBS will begin to fit out the studio and technical areas for the RHBs according to their requirements, as well as the key Host Broadcast technical and support facilities, later this month. In an effort to reduce the environmental impact, OBS will re-use modular pre-fabricated panels that were introduced for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, resulting in a reduction of waste by the equivalent of 2,800 truckloads. Fit-out work is scheduled until October 2017.
The first RHBs to use the facilities will arrive in October 2017. As per the standard timeline, the centre will be fully operational on 9 January 2018, exactly one month prior to the Opening Ceremony.