Lífland’s Icelandic Horse Champions League 2021 in Icelandic equestrian sports begins 28 January. This year, the league celebrates its 20th anniversary! Alendis TV and Lífland’s Icelandic Champions League have made an agreement which includes that all of the league’s tournaments will be accessible by streaming on Alendis TV. Additional material will also be available.
The Champions Lounge are eight 20-minute episodes produced by Alendis TV for Lífland’s Icelandic Champions League. Each episode is dedicated to one team. Professional rider Kári Steinsson interviews the contestants about their expectations and preparations for the competition and the horses on which they will compete.
The Champions Lounge can be watched for free on alendis.tv and on Alendis TV’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. The interviews are in Icelandic with English subtitles. The first episode was aired in early December and now four further episodes are online.
“We visit all of Lífland’s Icelandic Champions League’s teams and talk to them about their horses and what their goals are,” says Edda Hrund Hinriksdóttir, Alendis TV project manager and the programme’s producer. Viewers have welcomed the Champions Lounge and there have been especially many views on Facebook – they have now reached 55,000.
“The Champions Lounge is marketing content for Lífland’s Icelandic Champions League and therefore the programme is free. A lot of people have no idea what the riders look like when they’re not on horseback and without a helmet,” explains Edda. “Now viewers can see them and hear them talk about how they train their horses. It gives it a more personal angle. For example, I’ve heard people say: “I didn’t know he didn’t have hair!”” She laughs, adding that the programme includes in-depth information for horse enthusiasts.
When the tournaments kick off on 28 January, there will be interviews with experts and analysis on the starting line-ups and expectations before and after. There will also be discussions during intermission and after each tournament when the expert guests will go over the results.
“We want to bring the coffee room discussions onto the screen so that people can express their opinions and predictions and such and create more sport-like discussions around Lífland’s Icelandic Champions League like we know from football and most other sports,” elaborates Edda.
The programmes will be broadcast live in English. “There are some fabulous people who will join us and Telma Tómasson will be the presenter.” Telma is a well-known news anchor in Iceland. She is also a great horse enthusiast and has narrated the Icelandic Champions League in the past years.
In Lífland’s Icelandic Champions League, eight teams and 40 riders will compete in eight different disciplines. V1 will take place on 28 January; T2 on 11 February; F1 on 25 February; Gæðingafimi (gæðinga dressage) on 11 March; PP1 and 150-metre pace on 20 March; and T1, 100-metre pace and the final event on 10 April.
Icelandic television station RÚV2 will broadcast live from all tournaments. Alendis TV will stream the broadcasts with narrations in Icelandic and English and it will be possible to buy access by day pass or subscription. Buyers will get access to all of Alendis TV’s content, including videos from all major tournaments in Iceland last year.
“We made our debut last spring in May when we broadcast from the Hafnarfjörður Championships and then we offered streaming from all major tournaments last summer. That’s around 300 hours of content,” says Edda. Alendis TV’s streaming has proven popular in Iceland and abroad.
It’s possible to buy videos of specific riders and horses for private use. “Contestants can observe their performances back in time, and review what went well and what they can improve. We have sold loads of single videos this winter. People who are selling horses can also buy quality videos from competitions where the horse performed well and demonstrate that it is a good product,” explains Edda. Alendis TV uses remote controlled cameras which makes filming less of a hassle without compromising the quality of the footage.
There’s a busy time ahead for Alendis TV. “We have quite a lot to do. We will be broadcasting from six leagues in addition to Lífland’s Icelandic Champions League.” Edda mentions the Youth Champions League and Amateur League as examples. “The Amateur League has been very popular in the past few years with a great atmosphere among the audience. This will be the first time that we will be streaming from so many of the other leagues and it will be interesting to see how many views we will get.”
Jelena Ohm, Horses of Iceland project manager, says: “Alendis is a fantastic project and an example of innovation which came to the rescue at exactly the right time during COVID. To stream top-quality live broadcasts with narration in different languages opens a lot of doors for Icelandic horsemanship, all over the world. It will be exciting to watch Lífland’s Icelandic Champions League this winter and all of the interesting programmes produced by Alendis. There will be something for everyone!”
Horses of Iceland is a strategic marketing plan developed by stakeholders in the Icelandic horse community to increase the awareness and strengthen the image of the Icelandic horse in international markets. Alendis is a special department within OZ, an Icelandic high-tech company, which is dedicated to Icelandic equestrian sports.
Text: Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir. Photos: Louisa Hackl and Gunnar Freyr Gunnarsson.