BBC and Discovery Communications strike deal for Olympics coverage up to 2024

The BBC will broadcast the next five Olympics — Summer and Winter — on its television, radio and online platforms, following a deal struck with Discovery Communications under which it will give up exclusive rights to the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games in return for free-to-air rights to the 2022 and 2024 Games.

The deal, described as “innovative” by the BBC, means Discovery sublicenses from the BBC exclusive pay-television rights in the UK to the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games and the BBC sublicenses from Discovery exclusive free-to-air audiovisual and non-exclusive radio rights for the 2022 and 2024 editions.

Last summer, Discovery and its European sports broadcaster Eurosport acquired TV and multi-platform rights in 50 European markets for four editions of the Olympic Games, from 2018 to 2024.

For the BBC, the new partnership with Discovery ensures the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing and the Summer Games two years later will also be broadcast by the corporation. The announcement ensures the BBC will continue to be the free-to-air home of the Olympics until 2024.

“The Olympic Games is one of the nation’s most treasured sporting events,” said BBC Sport Director Barbara Slater. “This is an extensive package of rights that ensures we can offer the best of the Games, across TV, radio, online and digital, maximising the reach and impact of the BBC.

“This ground-breaking partnership also shows how the BBC can collaborate and work with others to continue to bring the very best in sport to licence fee payers.”

Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC, said, “The BBC prides itself on bringing the biggest sporting moments to the public. For many, the BBC has been their stadium for Olympic coverage. It is an event that unites the nation like no other. I’m delighted that through our new partnership with Discovery, the BBC will continue to carry the torch for great sporting coverage right through to the 2024 Games. While the BBC has had to take some tough financial decisions, this partnership underlines our commitment to making world class sport available to all.”

David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications, said, “Discovery is a passionate and committed partner of the Olympic Movement. Today’s agreement is a win for UK sports fans and marks an exciting new chapter in Discovery and the BBC’s partnership on major sporting events. For 30 years, our two organisations have chartered new frontiers with co-production partnerships in factual and natural history programming. Now we join together once again to bring the most compelling stories of human ambition, sacrifice and achievement to people across the UK.”

Timo Lumme, Managing Director of IOC Television and Marketing Services, said, “We are delighted our partners Discovery/Eurosport and the BBC are collaborating on this long term agreement which is great news for viewers in the UK. By sharing the rights, viewers will benefit from the BBC’s rich Olympic heritage and Discovery’s innovative approach to storytelling. Together, they will make the Olympic Games as accessible and engaging as possible.”

The next four Olympics take place in Rio de Janeiro (2016), Pyeongchang (2018), Tokyo (2020) and Beijing (2022). The venue for the 2024 Games is yet to be decided.

The 2012 Games in London were watched on the BBC by more than 50 million people in the United Kingdom. Seven million people accessed the BBC website every day, with 111 million requests for video and more than two million people downloading the app.

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