The 1997 series of Jeux Sans Frontières was again transmitted mainly from one location - Budapest in Hungary - with the final moving on to Lisboa, Portugal. The ever-changing line-up of countries saw an expansion from six in 1996 to eight this year, with JSF old-timers France and Netherlands rejoining the competition. Eládio Clímaco, presenter of the Portuguese JSF heats since 1979 made a special appearance in this year's final. The final turned out to be one of the most competitive in many years, with a mere five points separating the first and fifth placed teams. 

This series was unique in Jeux Sans Frontières history as, in addition to team trophies being awarded, there was also a separate trophy awarded to the competitor judged to have performed best in each event.

For 1997 only, Dutch broadcaster TROS used different musical themes, on-screen graphics and scoreboards from other broadcasters. TROS generally presented the final scoreboard in the form of a countdown, showing first the 8th placed team, with their position, name and score along the bottom of the screen, then the 7th placed team, and so on, until the 1st placed team was revealed. This practice was followed for most of the series, with the exceptions being Heat 1 (where the first shot showed positions 4th-8th and then 3rd, 2nd and 1st were added one at a time to the next shot) and the International Final, where teams finishing in positions 4th-8th were in the first shot, followed by a countdown of 3rd, 2nd and 1st placed teams in separate shots. Heat 1 and the International Final featured footage from the awards ceremony for positions 1st-3rd.

JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Alan Hayes, David Hamilton, Neil Storer, Christos Moustakas, Philippe Minet,
Sébastien Dias, Ischa Bijl, Paul Leaver and JSFnet Websites