Discovery Communications, parent company of pan-European sports channel Eurosport, has snapped up rights to all Olympic Games hosted between 2018–2024 in a continent-wide deal.
The firm signed a EUR 1.3 billion deal to secure rights in all European countries other than Russia. In the UK and France where rights to the 2018 and 2020 Games have already been awarded the deal covers only the 2022-2024 events.
Today’s announcement means the BBC will cease to be the Games’ broadcaster in the UK from 2022.
Although Eurosport is a subscription channel, Discovery has committed to making a “minimum of 200 hours of the Olympic Games” and 100 hours of Olympic Winter Games available on free-to-air (FTA) television in all territories.
In the UK the entire Winter and Summer games are required to be shown FTA under broadcasting rules.
In some countries it will also sub-license a portion of its rights to other broadcasters.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “This is a significant agreement for Discovery and the IOC, and we are excited to have Eurosport, the pan-European home of Olympic sports, as a partner.
“This agreement ensures comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Games across Europe, including the guarantee to provide extensive free-to-air television coverage in all territories.”
Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav added: “The long-term programming commitment with President Bach and the IOC reaffirms Eurosport’s position as the leader in sports across Europe, and will significantly enhance Eurosport’s presence on all platforms.
“With Eurosport’s proud and long-standing tradition of broadcasting many winter and summer sports showcased during the Olympics, adding the Olympic Games, the greatest live event in the world, is a perfect editorial and strategic fit.
“But most of all, this new partnership is an exciting win for European sports fans as we will deliver record amounts of content across platforms to ensure the Olympic flame burns bright all year long.”